The eureka moment is probably the easiest part.

It is getting the big idea off the ground which can be the real challenge.

For the creative minds behind innovative and forward thinking social enterprises the nitty gritty of business management and growth is not always at the forefront of their minds.

So it is with this in mind that Legal and General’s pioneering SE-Assist scheme aims to coach social enterprises through their “teenage years”.

Bids are rigorously debated by a committee including the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field, editor of The Argus Michael Beard and outgoing executive director of Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership Tony Mernagh.

Last year the Sussex pilot project helped three enterprises off the ground, the most notable ethical supermarket hiSbe.

Four successful social enterprises will now receive a £10,000-£30,000 interest-free loan, plus mentoring from a Legal and General employee and access to a bank of experts.

This year’s batch reveal an impressive spectrum of varying ideas – from dementia care to affordable farmland, theatre for learning disabled and a community-owned pub.

One enterprise that is modest in concept but grand in ambition is Engage and Create.

Founded by professional artist Rachel Mortimer, the idea is simple – to engage and improve the quality of life for those suffering with dementia through conversations about art.

Rachel believes the ageing population and higher numbers in care homes is creating a depressed elderly population starved of social interaction.

By starting in discussions about art – and asking patients how it makes them feel – she believes a real difference could be made.

It takes a different tack to reminiscence therapy which Rachel believes plays to dementia sufferers weakest point – their memory.

Engage and Create is working on a licensing model which will enable people in care homes all over the country to use its workshops.

Rachel said: “People in care get two minute of conversation every six hours. You see people slumped and depressed.

“Art is a natural stimulus so you can have a conversation about it and get different responses.

“When people take the workshops their body language changes and their faces light up as they are talked to like intelligent human beings.

“One lady came who was very quiet. She barely spoke a word for six weeks, but one day I showed her a Matisse and asked what she thought.

“To the amazement of everyone she said: ‘the mood and the colour move right through me’.

“Even the dementia patients could tell it was a special moment.”

Despite its apparent simplicity, the concept is unique.

Rachel added: “It’s almost embarrassing that it didn’t already exist.

“One of the tragedies of dementia is it’s so misunderstood.

“We need a change of culture.”

As well as the loan Rachel will get help on sales, marketing and communications from Debbie Greenway.

Debbie, of L&G, said: “Whatever Rachel needs I will try and help.

“She will carry on being creative while I can bring a different, sometimes critical perspective.”

Another winner of the funds was The Bevvy, a community project to give Bevendean and Moulsecoomb its own pub.

The Bevendean on Hillside was closed by police following a string of violent incidents in 2010.

With a combined population of 18,000, the Moulsecoomb, Bevendean and Bates estates are thought to be one of the most populated areas in the county without a local.

The plan is to provide the neighbourhood, sometimes described as some of the poorest in the UK, with more than just a drinking hole.

Residents can own a stake in The Bevvy by buying community shares, which are available online.

The project is still looking for help and is hoping to open later this year.

The L&G loan follows a £13,000 funding boost from Social Investment Business.

Tens of thousands have also been raised selling shares.

Treasurer Catherine Senger said: “Bevendean and Mousecoomb is a large area with no place to meet.

“The old pub closed four or five years ago, so there’s nowhere else for local people to go after work.

“It’s not just a boozer but a community venue.

“We hope it will make a huge difference.

“This help will make a big difference for the final push and give us more professional expertise.”

Andy Stuart-William, L&G’s mentor for The Bevvy, said: “I was born in Brighton and I’ve worked at L&G for 23 years now so I know how much something like this means.

“To work on something that delivers such a huge benefit to the neighbourhood is absolutely great.

“Hopefully we can be a useful sounding board for The Bevvy.”

The third winner, representing the range of social enterprises, was the Ecological Land Co-operative.

The co-op deals in affordable residential smallholdings for small-scale producers looking to practice sustainable farming.

It believes sustainable rural livelihoods are one of the best solutions to environmental and social problems, with small-scale farming protecting the environment and reducing use of fossil fuels.

The vision is for businesses to help build a vibrant countryside where people flourish alongside our landscapes and biodiversity.

The co-op also provides employment, access to sustainable food and crafts and educational opportunities for visitors, helping to maintain rural skills and improve ecological literacy.

Ecological Land Co-operative found there were no small-scale affordable smallholdings in England and Wales and was set up to buy land that was or is at risk of being intensively farmed.

Degraded agricultural land is purchased with planning permission sought for low-impact smallholdings with temporary residences.

Renewable energy, water, road access, and a naturally-made barn is set up, and it is sold with long-term leasehold at affordable rates.

It is currently working on buying smallholdings in Sussex.

The leasehold agreement also prohibits the property being sold out of affordable, agricultural and ecological use.

Director Zoe Wangler said: “We’ve been going for five years with our first project in Devon.

“Capital is often locked away in smallholdings, so this cash loan is very significant at this time.

“It’s a very tough business model because land is so expensive and incomes are so low.

“To have L&G looking after us is very exciting. There’s a great deal of comfort knowing we have access to someone with so much experience.

“Most of us come from research backgrounds rather than business so its about making sure we’re translating passion into a well constructed business model.”

A theatre that provides space for the community to support marginalised arts and drama within learning disability communities is the fourth and final SE-Assist beneficiary.

The theatre, which is part of the Grace Eyre Foundation, was officially launched in May 2012.

Organisers want to turn the 60-seat Purple Playhouse into a fully embedded community resource that can be hired by a variety of groups, performers and individuals.

Angela Croucher, of Grace Eyre, said: “The foundation has been around for 100 years and has supported adults with learning in different ways at its educational centre in Hove.

“As part of that we bought Purple Playhouse three years ago.

“With the opportunity of SE-Assist we want to open it up as a community interest company in September.

“It’s used as a theatre and operated as part of The Fringe at the moment.

“I think it will make a really big difference.”

Mentor Sue Roper said: “My role will to help and to provide support and assistance. We really want to help put the venue on the map.

Jen Maclaren, playhouse manager, said: “Our vision is to make this a fully-integrated community space that’s a theatre venue with a diverse programme and events.”

Frances Borrer, community investment manager, said: “Legal and General is delighted to be supporting more social enterprises through SE Assist – now in its second year. “Through a package of finance and mentoring we expect the chosen businesses to thrive and grow, as part of the local economy. “What started in Sussex in 2013 is now also available for Croydon social enterprises, to the Coast to Capital LEP.

“With a diverse mix of social enterprises and experienced business mentors all ready to work together, we anticipate some excellent results.”