eScalate, the newest programme from OxLEP Business, is creating 6 ‘hubs’ to nurture social entrepreneurship across the county.

Six prominent Oxfordshire organisations have been appointed as social enterprise ‘hubs’ to provide support for other community and socially motivated businesses. They will be playing a key role in delivering a new programme, eScalate which is designed to help social enterprises including social entrepreneurs, enterprising charities and other businesses with a commitment to making a positive social and environmental impact. It is a European Regional Development Fund programme.




eScalate’s 6 Hubs will provide help and support for social enterprises

Social enterprises are playing an increasingly important role in Oxfordshire’s economy. Helen Brind of OxLEP Business, which is managing eScalate, said: “More and more businesses in this sector are creating jobs and contributing to the success of Oxfordshire as a place to live and work. We need to make sure that they have access to the opportunities and gain the skills they require to succeed. We want to build their capacity and increase the opportunities available to them. All kinds of businesses and initiatives will benefit from our eScalate programme and the focused support these hubs will deliver for us.”

The social enterprise hubs announced this week are:

  • Tap Social, West Oxford
  • Oxford Hub, Oxford city centre
  • Aspire at Flo’s – The Place in the Park, East Oxford
  • CAG – Community Action Group Oxfordshire, Makespace, North Oxford
  • SOFEA, Didcot
  • Town Square, Eco Business Centre, Bicester


The Hubs will host events, activities and other support which is being coordinated and delivered by OSEP – the Oxfordshire Social Enterprise Partnership.

Leading advocate for community enterprise, Grant Hayward of OSEP CIC, said: “Establishing this network of Hubs is vital for delivering support and building capacity within local communities. All of them are great examples of thriving organisations, providing and promoting social and environmental impact. Over the next 2 years they will host workshops, networking events and peer-to-peer learning sessions. These hubs will help these socially oriented, purposeful businesses to learn new skills, forge partnerships and increase their impact.”

“Our goal is to create a strong and vibrant community of socially minded enterprises. In addition to the 6 Hubs, the programme is also looking at other ways to reach as many parts of the county as possible and make an impact in all sectors.”

During February, each of the Hubs will be launching within their own areas. The events will be open to individuals, businesses and charities who are interested in discovering more about the programme.

The first workshops begin in March and will cover subjects ranging from the inclusive economy, social impact measurement and how to pitch for funding. Each Hub will also host a peer support group, where socially minded entrepreneurs will be able to meet at regular intervals to share their challenges and achievements.

For more information about the support available through the eScalate programme, including workshops, visit:


Media enquiries from Rod Macrae, Ashley Cavers (OSEP)



Each of the eScalate Social Enterprise Hubs is holding a launch event. See details below. Anyone interested can attend. To find out more and reserve a place visit:

Hub Location Launch event Register your place
SOFEA SOFEA, Didcot 13 February, 4.30-6.30pm Sign up here
Aspire @ Flo’s Flo’s – The Place in the Park, East Oxford 19 February, 1-4pm Sign up here
The Oxford Hub The Oxford Hub, Oxford city centre 20 February, 5.30-7pm Sign up here
TownSq@ Eco Business Centre The Eco Business Centre, Bicester 25 February, 1-3pm Sign up here
CAG (Community Action Group Oxfordshire)@ Makespace Makespace, North Oxford 25 February, 6-8pm Sign up here
Tap Social Tap Social, West Oxford 27 February, 7-9pm Sign up here


The Escalate programme is run by OxLEP Business. It is the newest programme aimed at providing additional support for small and medium sized enterprises in Oxfordshire who are either social enterprises or growing businesses. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. According to OxLEP the growth of community-based and ethically motivated enterprises is positive and can be important job creators if they have access to additional skills and resources.

For more information:



OxLEP Business is the Growth Hub for Oxfordshire, part of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP). It helps businesses to navigate the complicated and often confusing business support landscape and find the support they need. It is currently funded by OxLEP, Oxfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). There is additional funding for this programme from the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information:



OSEP was originally set up in 2013 as an informal partnership by Oxford Brookes University and the University of Oxford. In March 2019 it was incorporated as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to support the fast-growing social enterprise sector in Oxfordshire and address its development and support needs.

For more information:

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