Extract from ‘UK’s social investment bank turns two: Has it met expectations?’
Pioneers Post, By Sophie Hudson
Robbie Davison, director of the social enterprise Can Cook, a Liverpool-based cookery school, says that while Big Society Capital has been an “ok vehicle” for creating some capability for social finance intermediaries, it has done “hardly anything” to impact social enterprises on the front line.
“It might be the right money for some sort of social market like big spin-outs from the public sector or large charities, but otherwise it’s the wrong money for the social enterprise market,” he says. “Organisations that couldn’t access investment still can’t get their hands on money from intermediaries as it has already been leveraged.”
He says that his organisation, which turns over £500,000 a year and employs 16 staff, is exactly the type of enterprise money from Big Society Capital should be reaching, but it is impossible for him to access any of it.
“When it lands in Liverpool it’s got about a 6-12% interest rate, which is just not feasible,” he says. “And the intermediaries don’t understand the business model. I forget how many times I’ve had conversations with intermediaries that are not interested in my social model but will make assessments purely on the basis of finances.”
He says the type of money that is missing from the sector is “patient investment”, where social enterprises would not be expected to pay investors back for six or seven years. “Their money is too short term at the moment, and it leverages need,” he says.