£10m investment keeps capital flowing into UK social ventures
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has invested £10m to increase the amount of capital available to organisations that find it difficult to access mainstream finance in the UK.
The investment has been made into RBS Social & Community Capital (S&CC), the bank's social finance charity – formerly known as the RBS Micro Finance Fund.
Through the S&CC fund eligible organisations including social enterprises, charities and cooperatives can access loan funding from £30,000 up to £1m. In order to be eligible organisations must be located in the UK and prove that they are financially stable, that they deliver positive impact to society and/or environment and they've been declined a loan from a mainstream bank.
Simon Jacobs, chair of S&CC, said it was “hugely important” that organisations with embedded social values “have access to the finance they need to succeed and grow”.
“Our current clients range from small social enterprises looking to grow, to heritage and community re-development projects, to community finance institutions, who provide more affordable alternatives to payday loans.”
RBS has been a longstanding champion of social enterprise...
Since 2011, RBS has made £5m of approved loans through its social finance charity, which was initially set up in 1999. The £10m investment means that the S&CC will be able to continue offering loans on flexible terms – with the structure of loans and loan rates agreed on an individual basis.
Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, said: “Our research shows that social enterprises are often looking for smaller amounts of investment, so the expansion of this fund is a great move to help keep capital flowing into the sector.
“RBS has been a longstanding champion of social enterprise and this is another sign of their continued commitment to help the sector grow and thrive.”
The £10m investment is part of RBS’s Inspiring Social Enterprise initiative, which was launched last year and has helped support over 2,500 social enterprises and invested £2.9m into the sector’s development – including support for the RBS SE100 Index.
CEO of Big Society Capital Nick O’Donohoe said: "RBS showed early leadership and innovation in responding to the need for repayable finance from charities and social enterprises finding it difficult to access mainstream finance.
“This expansion of the Fund demonstrates the viability of their model and continued support from the senior management team.”
Photo credit: Mark Ramsay