A £4m fund to encourage charities and social enterprises to access social investment has been launched by two major social finance organisations.
The money for the two-year Reach Fund www.reachfund.org.uk has been provided by Access: the Foundation for Social Investment, a £100m foundation set up by government to give grants to encourage social investment. The fund will be administered by the Social Investment Business.
The fund will provide grants to organisations who need specific support to be able to take on a loan, and is designed to test a new model of investment readiness support. Grants of up to £15,000 will be available.
Charities who want to use the fund must be referred by approved social investors, called Access Points, who must be willing to make an investment in the organisation if they become “investment ready”.
Charities and social enterprises will be able to register for the Reach Fund from Tuesday 1 November.
Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive of Access, said: “Charities and social enterprises have told us that they want to be able to access investment more easily. We have designed the Reach Fund so that social investors don’t have to turn away organisations who have a viable plan to grow their income but need some development support.
“For the charity or social enterprise this means that whether they are ready to take on a loan, or whether they need more support first, the social investor will be able to help.
“The availability of grant support for charities and social enterprises should allow social investors to take greater risks, expand their reach, and should also encourage new organisations to become social investors for the first time.”
Ten organisations have been named as Access Points. They are
- Big Issue Invest
- CAF Venturesome
- Co-operative & Community Finance
- FSE Group
- Key Fund
- Northstar Ventures
- Social and Sustainable Capital
- Social Finance
- Somerset Community Foundation.
The fund will be expanded in early 2017 when further Access Points will be recruited.