Big Society Capital

Investments are available to Social Investment Finance Intermediaries (SIFIs) based and working within the UK for projects tackling major social issues within the UK.

Loan investment of between £500,000 and £15 million.

The following types of investments are available:

  • Capitalisation and balance sheet growth: core equity capital to build stronger SIFIs that are able to raise further private investment and so provide more capital to the social sector.
  • Risk and working capital: acting as the lead investor in the developing and piloting of financial products and funds that provide risk and working capital to the social sector.
  • Sustainability and operational growth: providing medium to long-term capital to SIFIs to enable them to achieve sustainability and scale, and therefore to increase the volume of affordable finance that they can offer the social sector.
  • Market mechanisms and infrastructure: acting as lead investor and/or providing underwriting for the development of market infrastructure.
  • Advice, skills and information: providing direct equity and loan investment to SIFIs developing and providing financial advisory/corporate finance services to help social sector organisations build the skills and capacity required to take on investment.

Big Society Capital seeks both a social and a financial return from every investment it makes.

Apply

Before You Start

Big Society Capital is an independent financial institution with a social mission, set up to help grown the social investment market. It will invest in Social Investment Finance Intermediaries (SIFIs) that provide appropriate and affordable finance and support to social sector organisations that are working to tackle social problems in the UK. Big Society Capital does not provide funding or finance directly to frontline social sector organisations, but will work through intermediaries.

Big Society Capital was set up with funding from dormant bank accounts in England and from four of the UK's largest high street banks.

Restrictions

The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Frontline social sector organisations such as social enterprises, charities, and other not-for-profit organisations, which are providing services directly to people and communities.
  • Shell investment vehicles or ownerless orphan investment structures/funds.
  • SIFIs investing in or providing support to social sector organisations that deliver only environmental impact.
  • SIFIs without a clear and well-articulated social mission.
  • SIFIs without a base in the UK or which provide support to social sector organisations that primarily benefit people and communities outside the UK.

Social sector organisations looking for support can access a directory of intermediaries on the Big Society Capital website.

What You Need To Know

Key Criteria

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a Social Investment Finance Intermediary (SIFIs) providing investment and other support to social sector organisations that primarily benefit people and communities in the UK.
  • Be registered and working within the UK.
  • Have a strong management team and good corporate governance systems.
  • Have a robust business plan and financial model with realistic underlying assumptions.
  • Have a clear social mission with well-developed systems for delivering it and monitoring social impact.

Match Funding

Match funding is not a stipulated requirement.

Eligible Expenditure

Investments are made in SIFIs which provide finance and other support to social sector organisations that primarily benefit people and communities in the UK.

SIFIs should be providing investment and support in the following areas:

  • Employment, training and education.
  • Housing and local facilities.
  • Income and financial inclusion.
  • Physical health.
  • Mental health and well-being.
  • Family, friends and community.
  • Citizenship.
  • Arts, heritage, sport and faith.
  • Conservation of the natural environment.

Further information and case studies of the type of investments made are available on the Big Society Capital website.

How To Apply

Expressions of Interest can be made at any time.

Applications are initially made by submitting an Expression of Interest form available on the Big Society Capital website.

Those who are successful at this stage will be invited to fill out a full application form and submit a full business plan and financial model.

Successful applicants will then have a period for the due diligence process which includes a visit to the applicant’s office, interviews, scenario testing of financial models and a review of social impact reporting.

More than one Expression of Interest may be submitted.

Please note that Big Society Capital will not be providing funding or finance directly to frontline social sector organisations, but will work through intermediaries.