We began in 2002 as the Adventure Capital Fund, a partnership of several third sector organisations. This £2m fund was created by government to work out how to create sustainable community enterprises through social investment.
By 2006 we had received £17m from the Home Office to invest into community enterprises as a mixture of grant and loan.
Social investment continued to grow as government launched more similar programmes. In 2007 we set up Social Investment Business Ltd to bid for the retendering of the Futurebuilders Fund. Futurebuilders was set up by Cabinet Office to offer repayable finance to voluntary sector organisations and had been managed by a consortium since 2003.
In 2008 we won that contract and took on management of the biggest social investment fund in the UK. In total, Futurebuilders disbursed £145m in grants and loans.
The management of Futurebuilders was quickly followed up in 2009 by two further government funds we managed; the Social Enterprise Investment Fund (£98m) for the Department for Health and the Communitybuilders Fund (£70m) for the Department for Communities and Local Government.
In 2011, we were endowed with the repayments from the Communitybuilders fund. This meant that we now had our own money to invest. However, we knew we would be stronger if we worked with partners and other investors.
Social and Sustainable Capital was a start-up social fund manager but without the network to reach into the social sector. We invested in them and their first two funds. They now donate 51% of their profits to our parent charity and provide investment of £250k upwards, managing funds on behalf of ourselves, Big Society Capital and Santander.
As well as managing our ongoing loan portfolio we now focus on two different areas; grant programmes to help charities and social enterprises get ‘investment ready’ and loan funds to test new ideas and meet specific gaps in the market.
The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, Big Potential and the Reach Fund are all programmes designed to help charities and social enterprises access the support they need to either win contracts or gain investment.
Meanwhile, the Liverpool City Region Impact Fund and the First Steps Enterprise Fund were both pilot projects to test out ideas such as location based funds or smaller sized investments.
While times have changed, we continue to pursue our goal of providing the right type of finance to help charities and social enterprises change the lives of the people they work with.
Our track record and expertise put us in a great position to do this and we will work tirelessly to help more organisations do more of what they do best.