A new social investment foundation which will offer small social enterprises access to £105m worth of capital has launched today.
Access: The Foundation for Social Investment offers a mixture of grant funding from the Big Lottery Fund and loan funding from Big Society Capital, as well as from a £60m endowment from the government.
The £45m capital from BIG and BSC makes up the Access Growth Fund. This will work alongside social investment finance intermediaries to provide early stage charities and social enterprises with a blend of loan and grant money worth up to £150,000.
The Cabinet Office endowment, made available as capital from the Futurebuilders loan book, will be taken in instalments over a ten to 15 year period and invested back into capacity building programmes. As of today, £36m has been made available to Access by the government.
John Kingston, chair of Access, said the foundation will seek to fill gaps in the sector which exist for smaller charities and social enterprises when it comes to accessing investment.
“We are not seeking to build an empire with the establishment of Access. We will have a fixed life during which we want to make a real difference to more charities and social enterprises being able to access social investment,” he said.
“We will be a champion for the financing needs of this part of the sector, ensuring that the right mix of capital and support is in place long into the future.”
Seb Elsworth (pictured) is set to join the organisation in May as chief executive. He is currently deputy chief executive and director of partnerships and communications at Social Investment Business. He said that making social investment more accessible was a “big and exciting” task for Access.
“I hope that we will be seen as a real partner to the sector as we develop our work and share what we are learning about how mixing loans and grants can have the most impact."