Trade Back Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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We hope to answer some of your questions below. Please email tradeback@sse.org.uk  if you’d like to discuss any aspect of Trade Back further, and a member of the School for Social Entrepreneurs team will get back to you.

How is Trade Back different to Match TradingⓇ? 

Trade Back draws its learnings from the Match Trading grant model, which has been used by 500+ organisations since its launch in 2017. But we are now operating in a very different economic context. Trade Back has been developed specifically in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Unlike a Match Trading grant, Trade Back grant recipients benefit from receiving a traditional grant to kick-start recovery efforts and put into practice new ideas and initiatives.  Match Trading grantees only receive grant that is matched directly to an increase in income from trading.

The incentivised grant element is similar to a Match Trading grant as it matches pound-for-pound an increase in income from trading.  

Unlike a Match Trading grant, the Trade Back incentivised grant element takes into account the fact that for many organisations, Covid-19 has significantly reduced income from trading amounts.  For some organisations, the amount of income from trading may have been reduced to zero, due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Trade Back grant is more supportive of social sector organisations operating in a difficult economic environment.  Trade Bank grants provide financial support, while maintaining the ethos and challenge of an incentivised grant.

Why is Trade Back needed?

Social enterprises, community businesses and charities are at the forefront of solutions to the crisis, on the health and social care front line and providing crucial community support to the most vulnerable. But many are struggling, falling through the cracks in government support and leaving their communities, beneficiaries and staff exposed. 

If social enterprises and other trade-dependent social organisations fail in significant numbers, the negative impact could be huge – socially and economically. The social enterprise sector alone contributes £60 billion to the economy (3% of the economy), employing 5% of the UK workforce. It expects to see a 50% decrease in turnover – an estimated economic cost of £2.5 billion for each month since lock-down began. (Source: Social Enterprise UK)

Social organisations that rely on income from trading are particularly at risk in the short term. For example, over three-quarters of social enterprises earn more than 75% of their income from trading (Source: SE UK). In the long term, there could be a switch (similar to after the 2008/9 recession) where social enterprises dependent on grant funding may fail; and social enterprises that trade with the public and private sector improve and thrive.

Does Trade Back mean you are no longer using Match Trading?

Due to Covid-19, the School for Social Entrepreneurs expects that most new learning and support programmes would use Trade Back grants, as opposed to Match Trading.  For example, we are using Trade Back grants for the 2020-21 cohorts of our biggest UK programme: the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund.  

How do you know Trade Back grants work?

SSE and the Task Force will develop and evaluate the impact of Trade Back grants.  We will gain feedback and insight from funders and their grantees in order to adapt Trade Back grants to best meet the needs of a changing social sector.

From October 2020, 100 social sector organisations will benefit from Trade Back grants up to £7,000 as part of SSE’s biggest UK programme: the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund. 

On this programme, Trade Up grantees receive up to £4,000 Trade Back grant: £2,000 traditional grant to kick-start recovery; plus, an incentivised grant of up to £2,000 to accelerate recovery and growth.  Scale Up grantees receive up to £7,000 Trade Back grant: £3,000 traditional grant to kick-start recovery; plus, an incentivised grant of up to £4,000.   

Grantees on this programme participate in a learning programme (14 days over a year) focused on recovery, rebuilding, and resilience. The aim is to help social impact organisations bounce back from the crisis, accelerate their recovery, and build a stronger business model.  They are also supported by a mentor and a network of other social entrepreneurs.

 The programme provides an action-based, inspiring 12-month learning programme, delivered through SSE’s network of schools in England and Scotland, a grant, and a mentor from Lloyds Banking Group.  Launched in 2012, the programme will run for 10 years, is the largest of its kind in the UK and has supported almost 2,000 social entrepreneurs.

Register interest here and receive information on application dates.

 How can I get a Trade Back grant?

We’re working with the funding community to explore new Trade Back opportunities.

Email tradeback@sse.org.uk and we will put you our email list and we’ll send you details of future programmes with a Trade Back grant.

Does Trade Back mean Match Trading doesn’t work in a recession or challenging economy?

SSE continues to believe in the power of trading to support and grow a sustainable social enterprise sector. But the Covid-19 crisis has shown how even the strongest social impact organisations can become vulnerable to the unexpected. We recognise that a grant solely reliant on an uplift in income from trading may not be suited to these unprecedented social and economic times.

Introducing Trade Back grants will mean that we can continue to track how beneficial an incentivised grant is, in relation to an organisation’s increase in income from trading. Trade Back grants also guarantee funding up-front, to kick-start recovery.

Trade Back grants work well with a learning programme focused on recovery, rebuilding and resilience. Together, the grant and learning help social impact organisations #BuildBackBetter from the crisis.