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Regional Development Agencies: Non-Profit Making Associations

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what guidance he has provided to regional development agencies on their support for social enterprise in the current economic climate; (257038)

(2) what proportion of the support to small and medium-sized enterprises his Department has instructed regional development agencies to provide in the current economic climate is to be directed to support social enterprise.

Social enterprises, both at start-up and when established, can access the full range of business support products available through the Business Link network managed by the Regional Development Agencies. Business Link does not directly deliver business support programmes but acts as an impartial gateway to all publicly funded and private sector business support. For the 12-month period ending 12 September 2008 Business Link helped 146,000 social enterprises. This equates to 16 per cent. of the overall Business Link customer base. The Government does not set RDAs detailed targets for particular types of expenditure.