Social Enterprise Mark holder Big Issue Invest has today launched Impact Loans England, a new £5 million lending scheme aimed at enabling social enterprises to access loan funding of between £20,000 and £150,000.
The programme is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, with finance being provided by its partners Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.
The Impact Loans England programme is now available to organisations across England with the £5 million to lend over the next three years. The funding is available to organisations keen to do more of the good work they do – whether it’s buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans.
Daniel Wilson-Dodd, Head of Lending at Big Issue Invest says, “A lot of great organisations struggle to access small and medium-sized loans, so we wanted to provide support for those exciting social enterprises and charities.”
One of the first organisations to take advantage of the new finance scheme is Impact Hub Birmingham. It offers office and events space for like-minded social enterprise and arts organisations, hosting one-off workshops and ongoing collaborative projects. The hub’s city centre building opened in May last year, after a crowdfunding campaign raised an initial £65,000 for an impressive refurbishment of a Victorian warehouse.
“We were interested in building a better Birmingham, and thought that having a place to bring together lots of organisations with good ideas was a good way of achieving that,” says Andy Reeve, co-founder of Impact Hub Birmingham.
The team behind the Hub has encouraged a range of groups to work together on specific policy challenges and themes, like better childcare. “We’re providing the opportunity for people to work together on a consistent basis,” Reeve explains. “The financial support from Big Issue Invest will allow us to expand what we do.”
The Impact Loans England programme is a continuation of what Big Issue Invest has been doing over the past few years in other schemes aimed at helping social enterprises grow, often by accessing finance for the very first time. Big Issue Invest anticipates the popularity of this programme and is planning to deliver a deal a week for the first six months after launch.
A Twitter Q&A with @BigIssueInvest will be held in February, using the tag #ADealAWeek.