In the UK, Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) are the main providers offering community-based lending to small businesses that struggle to access finance. They share a social mission with their more established CDFI siblings in the US and microfinance institutions worldwide. These UK CDFIs have not yet reached their potential. They could scale significantly to amplify the social and economic impact they help create, often in disadvantaged communities, by supporting small businesses.
Big Society Capital and Citi worked together to bring representatives with the ability to influence the UK CDFI market to form the Community Investment Steering Group. Members of the Steering Group include representatives from the CDFI sector, small business, banks, social investors, foundations and thought-leaders, reflecting the broad range of stakeholders needed to create the supportive environment necessary for CDFIs to reach their potential. The Steering Group has focused on developing a shared vision for capitalising CDFIs to meet the needs of small businesses across the UK. Achieving this vision will ultimately help create more social and economic impact in disadvantaged communities and promote inclusive growth.