Mr. Gareth R. Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what further action he is taking to promote social enterprises. 
§ Ms Hewitt
Through the Small Business Service, the Department of Trade and Industry is taking a number of measures to promote social enterprises. The measures includeEnsuring that Business Links meet the needs of all types of businesses in their localities, including social enterprises;Working with the British Bankers Association and Social Enterprise London to produce guidance on the sector for business support organisations and banks;Supporting the development by Social Enterprise London of a pilot set of training modules to help business advisers provide better support for social enterprises;Promoting the role of businesses, including social enterprises, in tackling social exclusion through the Phoenix Fund. The Fund, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced in November 1999 and which has an initial budget of £30 million over three years, seeks to promote enterprise in disadvantaged communities. It has four parts:A Development Fund to promote innovative ways of supporting enterprise in deprived areas.A national network of mentors to pre and early stage business start-ups through the Business Volunteer Mentors Association.A Challenge Fund to help resource Community Finance Initiatives (CFIs).Loan Guarantee to help co-finance commercial and charitable lending to CFIs.
A number of organisations supporting social enterprises have applied under the fund and their applications are currently being considered. Announcements about the first successful bids will be made shortly.
In addition, the Small Business Service will be undertaking a mapping exercise to assess the current and potential economic impact of social enterprises.