Social Investment Scotland sees income grow by 11%

Social Investment Scotland (SIS), the biggest social investment finance intermediary in Scotland in terms of lending, has reported a growth in trading income of 11%.

It has reported income of £1,462,000, up from the previous year’s figure of £1,322,000.

SIS says the increased income has come from a mixture of interest payments, management fees, transfers and grants.

The organisation has a range of funds that cover both small organisations seeking smaller loans and larger organisations looking to scale up.

Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: “Just as social enterprises are becoming more knowledgeable about the range of financial options available to them, so SIS has worked hard to ensure that we continue developing financial products and business support services which meet the sector’s changing needs."

In the year to the end of March 2017, £3.4m was loaned to 35 organisations.

One of the funds SIS manages is the Asda Community Capital fund, so called because the money in the fund comes from the sale of plastic bags from the supermarket chain.

The fund filled the gap for early stage social ventures seeking smaller loans.

One such loan went to Lossiemouth football club. A part of a northern Scottish community, it exists as a social hub, providing a venue for weddings, funerals and more regular events like bingo for the town’s population of 7000. 

A leaky roof was threatening their capacity to operate and, as an unincorporated association, banks were unwilling to offer them a loan. Because the club had solid evidence of trading activity (and therefore would be able to service the loan) SIS offered investment of £18,500.

Davis feels recent figures have put paid to the notion that not enough social investment is done at the lower end of the market, recently tweeting that “93% of loans in past 15 months have been under £250k- that’s 38 loans”

At the other end of the scale, the biggest investment from the Social Growth Fund went into Our Power, which saw investment of £1m from SIS during the last financial year. 

Our Power is an energy supply company established by Scottish social housing providers.

Unlike other energy companies, it does not pay dividends to shareholders and reinvests profits for the benefits of customers, meaning it can offer power at more competitive rates than other providers. 

SIS celebrated 15 years of operation in the last financial year. It has invested more than £56 million in over 270 organisations since being established in 2001.

Photo credit: William Warby