Homelessness charities and shelters will compete for social enterprise funding in a "Dragon's Den-style" contest aimed at promoting entrepreneurial spirit and creating more training and job opportunities for homeless people.
The Government announced plans to adopt a more business-like approach to tackling homelessness as it unveiled the £1.5m Spark fund at the offices of social enterprise The Big Issue.
Under the scheme, organisations will pitch their ideas to a panel and the top five will win a share of the cash and support from experienced social entrepreneurs such as Big Issue founder John Bird and former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell.
The winners and 10 runners-up will also receive advice from consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers on how to grow their social enterprises.
The competition is part of a new partnership between the Government and the private and voluntary sectors, which aims to increase the number of social enterprises giving people the skills and confidence to break the cycle of long-term homelessness.
The Communities and Local Government Department has commissioned social enterprise organisation The TREES Group to run the programme.
Speaking at the launch event, Junior Housing Minister Iain Wright said: "Hostels of the future shouldn't just provide a safety net, but a springboard to employment, opportunity and a better future.
"We need to refocus our strategy so the homelessness sector puts greater emphasis on providing a route into jobs and employment as well as providing support and shelter for the most vulnerable.
"Greater social enterprise has the potential to transform services for homeless people and this initiative is about promoting a real culture change across the sector.
"It is about strengthening our efforts to end the 'revolving door' of persistent long-term homelessness.
"This exciting competition will help homeless charities grow their social enterprises which also help them generate a source of income and become more sustainable.
"It is a fantastic example of government working in partnership with the voluntary and private sector to deliver a common goal for homeless people - to help them end their homelessness for good."
The £1.5m total is made up of £500,000 from Communities and Local Government, a further £500,000 from the Big Issue Invest loan fund and £500,000 worth of time and resources from companies.
Mr Wright added: "With names like The Big Issue, PricewaterhouseCoopers and The TREES group alongside Communities and Local Government, I believe we're offering an extraordinary proposition to new social enterprises."
The scheme follows the Government's £160 million hostels improvement programme, which has funded social enterprises like Manchester firm Phoenix Landscaping, which trains and employs homeless people in the gardening industry.
Mr Wright also announced today £51 million in homelessness grant funding for the voluntary sector over the next three years on top of the £150 million already allocated to local authorities to help them tackle and prevent homelessness.