Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director of the CanopyStyle forest-friendly sourcing initiative, is among the first winners of a new fund launched to help bring innovative ideas to scale.

The 'Scaling Impact Fund' was launched earlier this year as part of the Fabric of Change initiative by C&A Foundation and Ashoka, the global network of social entrepreneurs.

Supporting social innovation for a sustainable apparel industry, it awards prizes totalling EUR250,000 (US$279,000) to help social entrepreneurs transition from strategy planning to strategy implementation.

Rycroft, was named the winner of the EUR100,000 Impact Award for CanopyStyle, which works with brands to stop sourcing the raw material for their viscose and rayon textiles from ancient and endangered forests. Over 100 international clothing brands and fashion designers, including H&M, Zara/Inditex, Stella McCartney, VF Corp and Gap Inc have joined its commitment.

The fund builds on the joint Fabric of Change initiative which was set up in 2015 and supports innovators at various stages of their development and works toward the vision of "transforming the apparel industry as a force for good."

C&A Foundation launches social innovation fund

"Once a clear and robust scaling strategy is defined, typically one of the biggest remaining barriers is funding or investment to support strategy roll-out," explains Nadine Freeman, co-director of Ashoka's Globalizer Programme. "The Scaling Impact Fund will give these social entrepreneurs the seed funding to take their impact to scale."

Other winners included Rebecca van Bergen, founder and executive director of non-profit Nest for the Gender Justice Award of EUR30,000; Ben Cokelet, founder and executive director of non-profit NGO PODER for the Peer Award of EUR25,000; and Hazer Gul, founder and executive director of Islampur Cottage Industry Association (ICIA) for the Peer Award of EUR25,000.