Multi-million-pound investment and training programme backed by Andy Burnham launches for "proper good Wigan entrepreneurs to tackle inequalities

An £8.25m investment and support programme has launched to support Wigan borough’s entrepreneurs to start or grow businesses that tackle inequalities in communities.

The new Proper Good programme is offering grant funding, social investment and free-to-access, tailored training and business support to entrepreneurs in four areas of Greater Manchester: Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan.

The support can be at every stage from start-up to scale-up - with a focus on those creating a positive social or environmental impact in their area.

Dave Baxter, Wigan Borough Proper Good programme lead, who already runs a successful social business in Platt Bridge, said: “This programme will be a gamechanger by providing down-to-earth support for people who have an idea to start a business that does good in the community – and investment to help them grow.

Dave Baxter, Wigan Borough Proper Good programme lead

“We want to work with anyone who has a proper good idea or existing social business.

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"Our region is full of hugely talented people who need no-nonsense advice and support - as well as investment - to take them to the next level.

"We've created the programme we wished we'd had when we first started out on our business journeys and will be using our experiences to encourage people to think about how their businesses can be 'social enterprises’ – where they are committed to improving communities – as well as profit margins.”

The Proper Good programme leads. Left to right: Anwar Ali OBE, Jo McGrath, Karen Smith, Liz Douglas, David Baxter

The five-year programme is being jointly funded by Big Society Capital and Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and Greater Manchester is just one of six regions from across England to take the programme forward.

Two million pounds will go to the local delivery leads who are all experienced social entrepreneurs to develop socially responsible businesses in their boroughs and £6.25m will be distributed by Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) as social investment to help those businesses grow.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, formally launched the programme this week at a virtual event held for public, private and voluntary sector organisations.

He said: “This programme sums up how we can make Greater Manchester a better place to live for everyone.

"You can’t look at economic progress in isolation - it has to go hand in hand with social progress, too.

“This programme combines the best of both to empower communities to confront inequalities, poverty and build fairer economies that benefit all residents.

“Cross-sector partnerships are key to place-based regeneration and real levelling up – I look forward to seeing how these partnerships develop thanks to this programme over the next five years.”

Philip Arnold, chair of the Proper Good Social Business Support Programme, said: “We’ve seen our communities hit hard for years – which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, this is our opportunity to empower local people to do something about it and turn their small businesses or ideas into forces for change that help make our communities better for everyone.

"Change can happen today.”

Entrepreneurs wanting to find more about the programme are invited to visit visit