The Growth Fund

Blended grant and loan fund providing small, affordable, unsecured loans for social enterprises and charities.

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The challenge

There is a growing demand for affordable unsecured loans of under £150,000 from social enterprises and charities, but the unknown risk profile and relatively high cost of delivering this type of finance mean it is in short supply.

Our approach

Working together with the National Lottery Community Fund and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, the Growth Fund was established to address this gap for small loans and help social enterprises and charities become more resilient and self-reliant.

The Fund

The Fund programme has invested in 16 loan funds which provide finance for social enterprises and charities to grow or diversify their business models. Finance comes in the form of small, flexible, unsecured loans, in some cases combined with grants, up to a total of £150,000.

By blending loans and grants, both for the fund manager and for the charity or social enterprise, it is possible to make finance available where previously risks and costs were too high.

  • Fund size

    £48.5 million
  • Big Society Capital commitment

    £26.3 million

Key information

  • Geography

    UK wide
  • Investment type

    Enterprise debt
  • Investment status

    Current
  • Investment date

    2016
  • Term

    10 years

Impact

  • 335

    Number of investments into social enterprises and charities to date

  • £63,000

    Average investment size

  • £223,000

    Median turnover of recipients

Sustainable development goals

  • 3: Good Health and Well-being Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 4: Quality Education Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • 7: Affordable and Clean Energy Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Rebecca McCartney

Rebecca MacDonald

Investment Director
Talk to me about:
New investment ideas, how we invest our money, and what we do to support our investments