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27 January 2022

Our Response to the Adebowale Commission Report


Responding to the launch of the final report from the Adebowale Commission on Social Investment, Nick Temple, Chief Executive of Social Investment Business said:

“We welcome the publication of the final report of the Adebowale Commission on Social Investment yesterday. We agree with the vast majority of its findings and recommendations –  not least its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, on the sources and flexibility of available capital, and on making most effective use of guarantees.

On diversity – we agree there is an urgent need for social investors to act; this is why we are a founding member and host of the Diversity Forum, and a signatory to its current manifesto. We will be signing the refreshed Diversity Forum manifesto and welcome the call for stronger accountability mechanisms in the report.

But it is also about who we fund. The report highlights the structural barriers that certain groups face in accessing finance: indeed, it references our own data showing how this has impacted Black and Minority-led social enterprises. This is why we’ve taken this learning and acted upon it – a new forthcoming initiative alongside our Recovery Loan Fund will change eligibility criteria, deploy significant grant blends, work with expert partners and provide tailored support: all to widen accessibility and prioritise groups that have been historically and systemically excluded from social investment. Establishing new funds and intermediaries is important but will take time – so all social investors should work hard now to address inequities and barriers in existing funds, and more transparently report the data of their investments.

We support the call for more ‘enterprise-centric’ finance for social enterprises – and the associated calls for patient, flexible, blended and unsecured finance: we know particularly from past funds like Futurebuilders that this kind of capital is exactly what is needed to help strengthen organisations to build their resilience and achieve growth. We also agree that there is a significant ongoing need for grant funded support programmes, such as the Reach Fund, to assist organisations on their journey through social investment.

More recently, the Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund and its successor, the Recovery Loan Fund, have demonstrated how guarantees can be used to make unsecured lending available to charities and social enterprises. We very much support the proposal for a Social Enterprise Loan Guarantee Scheme which would build on the successes of these funds, and make even more effective use of guarantees. We are also delighted that Fusion 21, the social enterprise supporting the Commission’s work, is a founding investor in the Recovery Loan Fund – what better way to ensure social enterprise is at the heart of social investment.

Finally, we welcome the overall recommendation for an £800m injection into the sector – especially if it is utilised in the ways the report sets out. We stand ready to work with government, our partners, our fellow social investors and the wider social enterprise movement to take forward these recommendations – and unlock the transformational impact that we can have on economy and society together.”

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