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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Foundation reports surge in enquiries for social investment opportunities

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A major funder has received a year's worth of enquiries for funding in just four weeks, indicating the sector is ready to build back stronger

A major funder has reporter strong interest from organisations who are looking to get back to work.

Foundation Scotland has received unprecedented levels of interest from ambitious social organisations eager to develop and expand. The team received a typical year's worth of enquiries in just four weeks, indicating the optimism, confidence and ambition across the sector.

The surge in enquiries followed the launch of the new Investing in Enterprise Fund in May, the only blended grant and loan product in the sector. The new fund was created by Foundation Scotland following its integration with Resilient Scotland, widening the range of support available to organisations from the community foundation.  The fund can invest up to £500,000 in social enterprises, community organisations and charities. Up to 50% (£250,000) of this can be in the form of a grant and the remainder as a repayable loan. With an interest rate of 6.1%, this is the most affordable loan offering in the sector, and Foundation Scotland invests all returned funds for additional social investment. 

Before integrating with Foundation Scotland, the team at Resilient Scotland had already distributed over £11.6 million in blended grant and loan packages to over 100 organisations since 2012. Foundation Scotland has retained the experienced social investment team from Resilient Scotland, building on this success through the new 'Investing in Enterprise Fund’.

Chris Holloway, head of social investment at Foundation Scotland, said: "We've received a phenomenal level of interest in our new Investing in Enterprise Fund since launching in May. It has exceeded all our expectations and can only be viewed as a hugely positive sign as organisations seek to move beyond Covid.

“We are in the process of recruiting a new investment executive to increase our team’s capacity and help manage the growing demand. Through our assessments, we are witnessing a clear sense of optimism, diversity and drive for development. Social enterprises are coming to Foundation Scotland for our partnership approach. 

“We offer knowledge, support and experience in addition to the funding.  Collectively, this offers significant benefits to Scotland's thriving social enterprises. We offer flexible repayment periods for all funded groups, which has never been more important in current circumstances.  We are encouraging interested groups to get in touch to discuss the potential support available."

Glasgow-based Community Interest Company Agile City has been announced as the first investment for the foundation in 2021. Agile City creates space for work, events and learning and received £150,000 in combined loan and grant funding to support the opening of its brand-new Civic House premises in the centre of the city.

Rob Morrison, director of Agile City CIC, said, "The support we’ve received from the team at Foundation Scotland has been instrumental in enabling us to plan, develop and launch our new central premises due to open in Glasgow later this month.

“We’re extremely grateful to have received such a significant sum across the combination of loan and grant funding but above this, the team have offered a real partnership approach to the finance, which has been so refreshing and supportive.  They have taken the time to understand our business, the challenges and the opportunities presented. 

“Foundation Scotland is providing essential support to ambitious organisations like us keen to build back stronger beyond the crisis. Together we have worked through scenario planning, discussed key issues we had not considered ourselves, and this relationship support continues beyond the funding decision – they continue to offer support through the length of the partnership.”

Foundation Scotland currently offers new social investment opportunities across 13 of the most disadvantaged local authority areas across Scotland. The foundation expects to extend the service to the whole of Scotland at a later date, and welcome even more new enterprises to Foundation Scotland.  Any interested applicants should contact Foundation Scotland to discuss potential opportunities available.

For more information, including details on how to apply for the Investing in Enterprise Fund visit the website.