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WCVA Announces New Partnership with Asda and Social Investment Scotland

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WCVA, through its financing arm Social Investment Cymru has announced a new partnership with Asda and Social Investment Scotland to bring the newly launched Asda Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy to Wales.

This ground breaking opportunity will provide support for product-based social enterprises in Wales to apply for a place within a new Academy set up to increase the availability of products for ethically-minded consumers in Asda supermarkets.

The new Academy will support at least two Welsh social enterprises in this cohort to strengthen their understanding of supermarket retail and refine their commercial and marketing skills.

From 4 April until 22 April, any social enterprise in Wales that thinks it has a product that could be sold in Asda stores will be able to apply for a place within the Academy. Following a short listing process a number of social enterprises will be invited for interview by a panel in a Dragon’s Den style pitch format for the final places.

Successful Social Enterprises will receive:

  • Access to a range of specially developed training modules delivered over 3 days at Asda House in Leeds to include everything from understanding consumer purchasing to branding and packaging design
  • Support to pitch your product to Asda
  • Mentoring and insight from Asda experts and specialist support from Social Investment Cymru
  • A tailored grant to cover participation in the Academy
  • Access to bespoke investment to help develop and expand operations should Asda decide to list products within its stores

While there are no guarantees that Academy participants will receive a listing with Asda, the skills and support offered throughout the programme will significantly improve their prospects and, more importantly, provide them with all the skills necessary to access the large retail market.

Matthew Brown, Head of Social Investment Cymru said: ‘We are delighted to bring this innovative Academy to Wales to give our social enterprises the ability to access expert retail knowledge within Asda as well as financial support to make the most of the doors being opened by this Academy.’ 

Richard Mason, Senior Director Corporate Responsibility at Asda said:

‘At Asda we take great pride in supporting the communities we serve. Our partnership with Social Investment Cymru represents an exciting move beyond traditional grant-making programmes, providing tangible benefits for people across Wales.

‘We provide a lot of support to local suppliers in Wales to grow their business, many of whom have introduced their products to our stores across the UK. By harnessing the power of our retail experience and expertise, along with our 616-strong store estate and online shopping division, we can help social enterprises to access the large retail market. The potential benefits are multiple – customers get more choice and social enterprises get the support they need to move from small to medium to large business, which in turn could create more jobs, increase investment in local producers and build positive social impact.

‘Investing in social entrepreneurs is an innovative way for Asda to ensure that our customers’ money, raised through the carrier bag charge, is continually reinvested in communities and delivers long-term positive benefits for Wales.’