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Social Venture Incubator

The 12-month Incubator

Cambridge Social Ventures (Social Incubator East) provides dedicated support to growing social ventures.

Our incubator programme runs over a 12-month period and provides a range of tailored support to social ventures. In our first two years, we've supported more than 50 ventures to grow, find customers and investment.

Whether you have global plans or are making an impact in your local area, our support is tailored to suit you.

Our graduates come from all sectors, from fashion to farming, prosthetics to prisons, and we work with businesses at all stages of growth.

Our support includes:

  • A dedicated business advisor for one-to-one support
  • Monthly training and networking days in Cambridge
  • Support to access finance, including a loan fund from Foundation East and guidance in approaching investors
  • Free co-working office space in at the Future Business Centre in Cambridge
  • Discount business technology through AWS Activate (Amazon) and Microsoft Bizspark

Many of our ventures will have attended a Social Venture Weekend prior to joining us. This is not a prerequisite, but it is a great foundation for a growing venture.

Business advice

When you join the Incubator you're allocated a dedicated business advisor. Together with your advisor you set milestones and establish what your support needs are.

Your advisor then meets with you regularly and works with you directly to provide support, access to networks and specialist advice and to track your progress against targets.


Testing your business ideas with fellow entrepreneurs is a very useful way of learning and developing your business.

Monthly sessions are organised where you meet practitioners and experts in group and one-to-one sessions, as well as have lunch with your fellow ventures and share your challenges, successes and learning.

This format maintains momentum and ensures you make great connections with your fellow ventures which will help you to develop your own support network – a crucial sounding board for all businesses.


There is a loan fund available to Incubator ventures via our partner Foundation East - a social venture themselves. As part of the programme, ventures which require flexible loan finance can be supported to this dedicated, discounted loan fund for Cambridge Social Ventures.

Ventures which are spinouts of the University of Cambridge, or founded by alumni, can also apply for investment from the Cambridge Enterprise social impact seed fund, which is only open to ventures supported by Cambridge Social Ventures.

Support to access other forms of finance, in particular raising equity investment through angels, is also provided.

Technical support

Our ventures benefit from access to world-class technical business support.

We partner with both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Bizspark to offer our ventures access to the best in online services.

Amazon Web Services gives ventures training, business support, and credit of $10,000 to be used on AWS services.

Through BizSpark our ventures can use Microsoft Development tools and platform technologies, along with production license to develop and bring their solutions to market.


Many of our ventures will have attended a Social Venture Weekend prior to joining us.

Our support includes further training as we kick off with three days of intensive training tailored to the stage your venture is at. Delivered by Cambridge Judge Business School, the training focuses on working towards refining your business plan with a succinct and compelling value proposition, financial skills and leadership development alongside developing a coherent "theory of change".

Further ad hoc training is provided in response to the needs of the ventures. For example: recently we have covered frugal innovation as well as personal resilience.


There is a fabulous space for teams to work from at the Future Business Centre in Cambridge. Each venture has its own area in a semi-open plan office which also includes a meeting room, sofas and communal space plus tea and coffee etc. 

Some ventures already have their own premises or are located elsewhere. Cambridge Social Ventures can provide support and business advice to such ventures, however to make the most of the cohort, we expect all ventures to join us in Cambridge once a month with their cohort for mentoring and training. All our ventures are also welcome to drop in at any time outside of those.

Ready to apply?

Deadline: 16 July 2018

We have just closed a round of applications. The next cohort will be chosen in summer to start in September. Applications are always open and we make selections on a rolling basis, so apply early if possible... don't leave it til the last minute!

We are always keen to hear from social ventures who are considering applying to the programme. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Apply for the incubator