Big Issue Invest

A case of how blended finance can work

Sunderland Home Grown CIC shows how grant funding, social investment and support programmes can work together to benefit early stage social enterprises. 

We made our first investment of £25k in Sunderland Home Grown CIC in June 2018. We think this is an excellent example of grant programmes, social investment and support programmes coming together to enable early stage social enterprises to develop and grow.

In June 2016 Sunderland Home Grown CIC (SHG) applied for a loan of £100k to help start up a community garden centre which would provide opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. We took a serious look at the proposal and were hugely impressed by the people involved, what they were trying to achieve and their plans for social impact.

Securing appropriate finance

However, in the end an investment did not happen. At the time repayable finance was not the most appropriate source of finance to support the start-up social enterprise. Not deterred, SHG approached Power to Change for grant funding and were successful, securing over £120k. This seed capital enabled SHG to build their income model around trading, service contracts and grant income. Each year, 30 individuals with learning disabilities receive support and benefit from the service and three local jobs have been created. The need to expand encouraged SHG to look again at repayable finance.

Grant funding, social investment and support programmes can work together to benefit early stage social enterprises.

Getting the right type of support

With support from the Reach Fund, SHG were able to put forward a convincing case for repayable finance with the help of an external support provider. A key part of the success of SHG was being able to choose their own consultant with specific market knowledge and social enterprise expertise. The focus of the support work was on repayable investment, added value and internal capacity building.

Learning

  • Support programmes which are flexible and place social enterprises at the heart of the process can deliver added value to both social investors and social enterprises.
  • Grant funding and repayable finance are often needed at different stages of a social enterprise’s organisational life cycle.
  • Grant funding and grant dependency are not the same. Grants can be extremely useful and act as seed capital funding.
  • The more grant funders, support organisations and social investors work together, the greater potential there will be to grow the social investment market. Collaboration means greater social impact and greater financial sustainability.

Find more case studies of our investees here.

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Local theatre company receives £104K in investment from Big Issue Invest
Big Issue Invest

Local theatre company receives £104K in investment from Big Issue Invest

ESG, Regulation and Data reporting  – should we be implementing an Impact Balance Sheet?
Big Issue Invest

ESG, Regulation and Data reporting  – should we be implementing an Impact Balance Sheet?

Milton Keynes-based community interest company receives £50K in funding from Big Issue Invest to help empower disadvantaged communities
Big Issue Invest

Milton Keynes-based community interest company receives £50K in funding from Big Issue Invest to help empower disadvantaged communities

Bristol-based charity that tackles social exclusion receives £40K in funding from Big Issue Invest
Big Issue Invest

Bristol-based charity that tackles social exclusion receives £40K in funding from Big Issue Invest

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.