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Mixed Grant & Loan

Flexible Finance

Type: Mixed Grant & Loan
Value: £50k - £1.5m (up to 50% grant)
Location: England
Currently open? : Yes

What is the Flexible Finance Fund?

The Flexible Finance Fund is a partnership between Social Investment Business, The Ubele Initiative and Create Equity. It will be providing £4m of funding and support to 15-25 Black and Racially Minoritised charities and social enterprises in England with a material package of funding and support to help them to grow or take on assets and become more resilient

Flexible Finance works through providing a flexible grant and support alongside a loan from the Recovery Loan Fund with the grant being up to 100% of the loan value (grant ranges from 50% to 100% of the loan value and is capped at a maximum of £200k) alongside direct support from Ubele or Create Equity through the funding application process. The loan alongside the grant can range from £50k to £1.5m and be repaid over 1 to 6 years.

The fund is supported by the Government guarantee scheme – Growth Guarantee Scheme.

Who is it for?

The Recovery Loan Fund with Flexible Finance is for Black and Racially Minoritised charities and social enterprises based in England who are improving people’s lives, or the environment they live in.

Am I eligible?

  • Black and Racially Minoritised-led: 51% or above of the organisation’s board and senior management team must be from Black and Racially Minoritised backgrounds. 
  • Legally constituted and a registered charity or social enterprise. 
  • Primarily constituted for social benefit improving people’s lives or the environments they live in. 
  • Operating for at least two years. 
  • Minimum turnover of £200k in its last financial year. 
  • Not subject to any insolvency proceedings e.g., winding-up, administration, insolvency, bankruptcy. 
  • No previous repayable finance: Your organisation must not have received repayable finance of greater than £25k. This excludes Bounce Back Loans. 
  • Grants are only available for organisations operating in England.

A loan cannot be used to support the following sectors: 

  • Banks, Building Societies, Non-bank Deposit-taking Organisations. 
  • Insurers and Reinsurers (excluding Insurance Brokers).
  • Public sector bodies.
  • State funded primary and secondary schools.

Not sure if this fund is for you? Want to talk about your eligibility or any questions you have about the application process? We’re happy to help, just get in touch at: loans@sibgroup.org.uk 

 

What could I receive?

Loan

Product Blend of loan and grant (grant up to 100% of loan value capped at £200k)   
Amount £50k to £1.5m (exclusive of grant)  
Repayment Term 1 – 6 years (inclusive of any capital repayment holiday) 
Interest Rate 7.9% fixed per annum  
Arrangement Fee 2.5% on loans of £500k or greater 
3% on loans £500k or less 
 
Repayment
  • Capital repayment holiday of up to 12 months at the start of the loan (optional)
  • No early pre-payment fees
 
Security
  • All loans of up to and including £250k will be provided unsecured 
  • For loans of over £250k, security will be taken in the form of a standard fixed and floating charge, where readily available with exceptions made only in exceptional circumstances 
 
Purpose Any, excluding refinancing of existing debt  

Flexible Finance Grant

Flexible Finance Grant (Disbursed as a single payment alongside the loan)

Product  Unrestricted grant 
Size  £50k – £200k (ranges from 50% to 100% of the loan amount) 
Drawdown  Disbursed as a single payment alongside the loan 

How do I apply?

Click ‘Apply Now’ to start your Recovery Loan Fund with Flexible Finance application.

Additional Support

The Ubele Initiative and Create Equity will provide support to Black and Racially Minoritised applicants pre and post application. 

They can aid in the application process, including support writing the application and work with organisations to gather information needed before Investment Committee.  

The Ubele Initiative and Create Equity will provide ongoing support for any additional advice or questions that may need answering and the same with post support.  

The Ubele Initiative and Create Equity will bring their networks, expertise and understanding to the project, and provide support to organisations throughout the funding application and assessment process.  

To find out more, please contact The Ubele Initiative and Create Equity.

 

How does the fund work?

SIB works with experienced Black and Racially Minoritised partners The Ubele Initiativeand Create Equity. Access – The Foundation for Social Investment provides the grant funding for the Flexible Finance Fund

The loan monies come from the Recovery Loan fund, with initial investment from SIB and the Fusion21 Foundation – the charity parent and social investor of social enterprise and public sector procurement provider Fusion21. In January 2022, The Archbishop’s Council, Big Society Capital, MFS Investment Management, and Treebeard Trust were announced as further investors in the fund, taking funds raised to date to £21.5m (including follow-on commitments).

We established the fund to make it easier for charities and social enterprises to benefit from the Government’s guarantee scheme – Growth Guarantee Scheme. 

What is the Government’s Growth Guarantee Scheme?

The new iteration of the Growth Guarantee Scheme (GGS) launched in July 2024 and is designed to support access to finance for UK small business as they look to invest and grow.  

The Growth Guarantee Scheme aims to improve the terms on offer to borrowers. If a lender can offer a commercial loan better term, they will do so. 

Businesses that took out a CBILS, CLBILS, BBLS or RLS facility before 30 June 2024 are not prevented from accessing GGS from July 2024, although in some cases it may reduce the amount a business can borrow. 

Growth Guarantee Scheme-backed facilities are provided at the discretion of the lender. Lenders are required to undertake their standard credit and fraud checks for all applicants. 

Guarantee is to the lender: The scheme provides the lender with a 70% government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the facility after it has completed its normal recovery process. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. 

Subsidy: The assistance provided through GGS, like many Government-backed business support activities, could be regarded as a subsidy and is deemed to benefit the borrower. There is a limit to the amount of subsidy that may be received by a borrower, and its wider group, over any rolling three-year period. Any previous subsidy may reduce the amount a business can borrow. 

All borrowers in receipt of a subsidy from a publicly funded programme should be provided with a written statement, confirming the level and type of aid received. 

Borrowers will need to provide written confirmation that receipt of the GGS facility will not mean that the business exceeds the maximum amount of subsidy they are allowed to receive. 

To find out more about the requirements, please visit out Subsidy Guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the social enterprise registration mean/include?

You must be an incorporated voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation, based in and delivering social/ environmental impact in England. You must also be registered in England as either a Charity, Community Interest Company or Community Benefit Society or, if you are another type of legal entity, you must have a social object, asset lock and restriction on profit distribution (must distribute less than 50% of post-tax profits) written into your governing documents. You must also have a viable borrowing request (that can reasonably be expected to meet its repayment obligations).

What groups do Black and Racially Minoritised ethnic include?

The Black and Racially Minoritised grouping covers everyone outside the category ‘White British’ (i.e., White English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Irish). Groups classified as Black and Racially Minoritised include people identifying as Asian / Asian British; Black / African / Caribbean / Black British; White Irish or Gypsy, Traveller or Irish Traveller; mixed or multiple ethnic groups; Arab or Latinx; or any other ‘non-White’ British category.

What types of projects/costs does this fund offer to finance?  

Anything that benefits the community you operate in. It’s an unrestricted fund, so the funding could be used to take on more staff, undertake building work or increase capacity through new projects for example.

Can you explain further how the combined loan/grant (blended finance) works and what the process is? 

The product you are applying for is the Recovery Loan Fund with the addition of Flexible Finance. The Grant can match up to 100% of loan amount (capped at £200k) and you can apply for however much you think is needed. Your Relationship Manager will work with you to create an application that reflects that need.

Is the funding received as a lump sum or staggered? 

The Grant is dispersed as a lump sum alongside the drawdown of the Loan. It is not usually staggered in any way.

Can I have a grant without the loan? 

No. The fund offers loan funding, with a grant that sits alongside the loan to help make it more accessible and affordable for Black and Racially Minoritised charities and social enterprises. The fund is not intended to provide standalone grant funding. 

What does the review process entail? 

We will perform due diligence on all applications in areas including financial performance and ability to repay the loan, scope of delivery and social impact, strength of your governance and management arrangements.

Once due diligence is completed and the team are satisfied all criteria is met, your application will be passed onto the Investment Committee. They are an independent group that check all of our applications for funding. This is the final step before receiving funding.

I want to use the funding to refinance existing debt, is this allowed? 

No.   

What does incorporated mean? 

The organisation is registered as a legal entity e.g. a company and can take out contracts and borrowing in its own name. 

Is anything ineligible? 

The following sectors are ineligible: 

  • Deposit taking Banks and EEA Banks;
  • Building Societies; 
  • Insurers (other than insurance brokers); 
  • Public sector organisations (as classified by the Office of National Statistics); 
  • State funded primary or secondary schools. 

Will the fund lend alongside other lenders? 

The fund can make loans alongside other lenders or grant providers. However, consideration will be given to how the overall investment will affect an organisation’s financial position and its ability to repay the loan element.  

What should I expect when completing the application form?  

The application is relatively straight forward. It collects mostly contact information and organisation data. It doesn’t have lots of free text questions.  

You will be asked to select a partner to assess your application and, if applicable, present it to the funds investment committee for a decision (see below). You will also be asked to provide your last 2 sets of approved accounts (showing figures for 3 years, if available), latest set of management accounts, and 12-month cashflow forecast for the current financial year.  

The application should take approximately 15 minutes to complete if you have all information to hand. You can save the application and resume later, if needed. Once submitted you will receive an auto acknowledgement email with a PDF copy of your application attached. We will be in touch a few days after you have submitted. 

When can I expect to receive a response about my application?

When we receive your application we aim to make initial contact within three working days, however during exceptionally busy times it can be up to five-seven working days.

How do I decide which partner to work with? 

When you fill in your application you will be asked to select a partner to assess your application, and, if applicable, they will present it to the funds investment committee. If you are eligible for the Flexible Finance grant alongside the loan you will need to select either Ubele or Create Equity or Social Investment Business.

Our registered address is different from our main premises – is that a problem? 

That’s fine.  

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Value: £150k - £1.5m
Location: UK
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