Social enterprise plays a key role in Scottish society; delivering services, creating volunteering and employment opportunities and connecting with the most vulnerable in society. They play a pivotal part in the regeneration of local communities, helping to build identity and capacity.
Increasingly, social enterprises are seeking investment to develop their businesses and are looking for alternative means to raise the capital they require. There has been an increasing willingness for these organisations to consider a social investment, one that offers the funder both a social and financial return, rather than taking the traditional grant funding route.
Resilient Scotland’s JESSICA Trust, Scotland’s only Social Investment Trust, is committed to growing the social investment sector in 13 designated Local Authority areas across Scotland. Through investment packages, it is providing community organisations with a new source of capital, giving them the opportunity to operate on a more sustainable footing.
Start & Grow offers investment packages of between £10K and £60K. It offers a grant and loan package to support the development and growth of new and existing organisations.
Start & Grow offers investment where commercial lenders have failed to show faith; it considers the social and financial aspects to be of equal importance; although organisations applying for funding do still have to present a financially viable business proposal.
The nature of this investment allows the money to be directed to where the business requires, enabling it to maximise enterprising opportunities and aid growth and sustainability.
MsMissMrs, a Community Interest Company operating in North Glasgow, are thankful that Start & Grow were prepared to take a risk and invest in their business which provides training and mentoring for young women.
MsMissMrs received a £19,000 investment from Start & Grow to produce the first 4000 pairs of “empowerment pants – underwear with a mission”. The profits from the sale of these pants will provide employment opportunities, workshops and peer-led mentoring for many young women living in one of the most disadvantaged areas in Scotland.
The support from Resilient Start & Grow enabled MsMissMrs to develop an idea, realise its potential, and reinvest the profits into helping people in their local community.
Start & Grow has been developed to meet the needs of enterprising community organisations, often offering support as well as financing.
It is still early days for Resilient Scotland, but this approach will help build resilience within communities and has the capacity to create lasting impact in a growing social investment market.