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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.

New fund to be managed by leading social lender


Investment fund will manage £62 million

Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is leading the delivery of a new £62 million investment fund which has been launched to help small businesses in England and Wales.

Many small businesses access finance from socially motivated lenders such as community development finance institutions (CDFIs), but CDFIs themselves face barriers to achieving long-term sustainability and securing capital at scale to meet the demand of small businesses.

SIS, which is itself a CDFI and has been investing in the social sector since 2001, has played a leading role in bringing together Lloyds Bank, Big Society Capital (BSC) alongside three CDFIs (BCRS Business Loans, Business Enterprise Fund and Finance For Enterprise) to create the Community Investment Enterprise Fund (CIEF) which will provide capital for around 800 small businesses, supporting around 10,500 jobs.

The funding announced follows on from a successful first phase, also managed by SIS, which saw the deployment of £66m by four CDFIs in England to meet the needs of more than 900 small businesses operating in disadvantaged areas, supporting both jobs and economic activity.

Launched in 2018, CIEF was initially funded with £30 million from Big Society Capital.

Alastair Davis CEO Social Investment Scotland said: “What we have achieved through CIEF since its launch five years ago provides evidence that investing into under-served communities, and place-based approaches are both possible and credible. Lloyds Bank’s involvement as the first mainstream lender to support the CDFI sector really helps to push this model into the mainstream now.

“On the back of CIEF’s success, it is our ambition at SIS to create a similar fund for Scotland.  However, we’d like to see more institutional investors follow Lloyds Bank’s lead and invest in CDFIs as a route to building wealth in our communities and helping our small businesses prosper.

“By taking a collaborative approach, we can make a huge difference to people’s lives and livelihoods, at a time when many households are struggling with the cost of living and volatile economic conditions.”

SIS’s role as fund manager for CIEF sees the organisation further increase its impact across the UK.

Last year SIS launched two new funds - the Community Sustainability Fund aimed at helping individuals and communities most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, and the Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund, targeting social enterprises in the North-East of Scotland and Moray.

SIS also continued to oversee, and fund manage the Scottish Investment Fund (on behalf of the Scottish Government), Scottish Social Growth Fund, Third Sector Resilience Fund and the Affordable Credit Fund (on behalf of the Carnegie UK Trust and the Scottish Government).

Elyn Corfield, CEO Business and Commercial Banking, Lloyds Bank, said: “Small and medium size enterprises are the heartbeat of the UK economy and as the largest domestic banking group, we have a proud history of supporting UK businesses to thrive. We’re therefore delighted to support the CDFI sector to back local businesses, with a focus on deprived areas, and ensure they have access to a range of financial options right for them.

And Anna Shiel, chief investment officer at Big Society Capital said: “Like the small enterprises they serve, the dedication of CDFIs to create long-term impact deserves greater backing. The combination of their hard work, and vital tools such as the Recovery Loan Scheme guarantee, has unlocked the potential to draw in more capital from institutional investors such as Lloyds, whom we are delighted to co-invest with in this fund.”



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jesse wallick
about 1 month ago

Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is spearheading the management of a new £62 million investment fund aimed at supporting small businesses in England and Wales. This fund, known as the Community Investment Enterprise Fund (CIEF), has been created to address the challenges faced by community development finance institutions (CDFIs) in achieving long-term sustainability and securing capital to meet the demands of small businesses.

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jesse wallick
about 1 month ago
Overall, the establishment of the CIEF reflects a concerted effort to bolster small businesses, particularly in underserved communities, and underscores the importance of collaboration between financial institutions and social sector organizations in driving economic growth and resilience.