Stephen Waud, CEO of the Business Enterprise Fund and CIP Board member explains why he thinks CIP’s got all the right ingredients for success.


I was excited about getting involved with CIP – As a kid I used to watch my Grandma bake cakes. I loved to watch her pull all the ingredients together and mix them in her big old fashioned bowl. I would watch her add just the right quantities of flour, eggs and milk and do so in just the right way; and of course I would enjoy the results of her labours – straight out of the oven! (But I always enjoyed licking the old mixing bowl out more).

Now you might think that this seeded in me a deep and enduring skillset that led me later in life to bake cakes. Sadly no! It certainly fostered my love of cakes, but to this day I’m more intrigued and captivated by how the different ingredients interact with the baking process to produce the different kinds of cakes.

That’s a longwinded way of saying that CIP is just like that for me.

There are some amazing ingredients that make this particular recipe work well and produce a wonderfully expert ‘funding’ cake.

First into the bowl is the astonishing commitment of the four founder members of the CIP that is Orbit, L&Q, Peabody and Clarion. These four large housing associations have collaborated and combined their expertise into creating this uniquely innovative fund that aims to help social enterprises within their supply chains and beneficiaries to access tailored funding to grow their businesses as well as access the supply opportunities that the combined members have. Mix this with the talented and gifted staff who support the clients through the application process and finally add the patient capital investors (Access Foundation, Big Society Capital and Big Lottery Fund) who have seeded the fund with the funds it needs to make the investments work. So not only do organisations get the funding they need to grow, but they also get access to the combined supply chain and support from the members of CIP.

It’s a virtuous circle, symbiotic in nature. We help you and you help us – we fund you and you supply us.

And since we have already made some excellent investments, the opportunities for further investments exist too – that’s a plug for applications!

What a great blend of ingredients, and what a brilliant result.