New £10m risk capital investment fund for Social Enterprises announced

New £10m risk capital investment fund for Social Enterprises announced
Cabinet Office (National)

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, today announced that a radical proposal to set up a £10million Risk Capital fund for Social Enterprises will go ahead. The fund will be the first of its kind for social enterprises and will particularly benefit them at the critical start up and early growth stages of developing their business.

Through extensive consultation, social enterprises have told the Government that equity or equity-like investment is a crucial finance option for the long-term sustainability of the sector. Therefore, the fund will be run as a ‘pathfinder investment scheme’ where the Government’s £10million investment will be matched by private and independent investors. This will ensure a legacy by building relationships and understanding between social enterprises and commercial investors.

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, said:

‘I’m extremely excited about this fund and what it means for the long-term development of social enterprise as a mainstream business option. Investors are increasingly looking to maximise their profits whilst also being able to benefit the wider world. I hope that the legacy of this fund will be to show investors the potential of ethically driven investment. Although this method of investment will not suit all social enterprises I am encouraged that this initiative will open up social enterprises to a greater choice of investment opportunities.’

Jonathan Bland, Chief Executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said:

‘We welcome the fund as a step in the right direction for helping social enterprises scale up. We feel it is a useful pilot for increasing vital risk capital investment into social enterprise.’

The Government will appoint one or more independent fund managers following a tender process. Under the rules of the investment fund the Government will make the same return on investments as independent investors. It is expected that the fund will open to applications in the autumn.

The Risk Capital investment fund was first recommended in the Government’s Social Enterprise Action Plan published in November 2006.