Social lending

We want to see a social lending market that meets the needs of a diverse range of social purpose organisations and investors alike.

Good

Growing enterprises and building resilience to improve people’s lives

Social enterprises, charities and small businesses play an important role in their communities. They support vulnerable people, create jobs and contribute to the local economy. Many viable and sustainable enterprises struggle to access affordable finance. This is because they lack security, a track record, and traditional lenders perceive them to be high risk.

Supporting vital services during COVID-19

St John Ambulance Cymru is a charity that provides ambulance and hospital transportation, as well as first aid training; alleviating the strain on the Welsh Ambulance Service. After its bank rejected a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) application, the charity received a loan from the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund which meant it did not have to spend its vital reserve investments.

Big Society Capital worked with Social Investment Business and other social investors to establish the £25 million fund to make CBILS loans available to charities and social enterprises. This facility was established from scratch in a record four weeks by significant partnership work across the social impact investment sector.

The role of social impact investment

Social impact investment can help support a wide range of organisations to access affordable finance in some of the most disadvantaged communities. From small loans to charity bonds, social lending can help enterprises grow their trading income, provide working capital, and increase resilience.

We’ve invested alongside others to support both experienced and new fund managers, and social banks, all of whom work hard to understand the organisations they support. We’ve used a range of tools including repayable investment, guarantees and subsidies such as tax relief and catalytic capital. And we have worked with trusted partners to provide a blend of grant and repayable capital, significantly increasing the number of organisations we reach. As a result, we are supporting many organisations in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country.

  • 4000+ loans to social enterprises and charities across the social lending market – as at 31 Dec 2020
  • £1bn increase in lending by social banks since 2012
  • £337m size of the charity bond market vs over £5.4m in 2012

Supporting a diverse range of enterprises

Across our portfolio, organisations are supporting people in some of the most overlooked communities.

Get in touch with the team

If you're interested in investing or finding out more about social lending, our dedicated team of experts are here to help.