Five social enterprise support agencies came together to deliver the fund: Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd. They are supported by CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka.
Big Issue Invest
Founded in 2005, Big Issue Invest extends The Big Issue’s mission by financing the growth of sustainable social enterprises and social purpose businesses across the UK.
Big Issue Invest (BII) offers social enterprises and social purpose businesses loans and investment from £20,000 to £3.5 million. It manages or advises on £450 million of social funds, including £45 million assets under direct management.
In 2020-2021, BII invested in over 184 organisations across the UK, with 62% of investment in the highest areas of deprivation. Alongside working in areas where it is needed, Big Issue Invest’s clients provide services to over 1.16 million people across the UK and provide jobs for up to 10,000 people and volunteering opportunities for 6,900 people.
Our mission is to provide the right kind of money at the right time for the development and growth of sustainable and impactful community and social enterprises that are unable to secure support from elsewhere.
We provide finance – both loans and grant/loan packages – to help community and social enterprises to start-up, become sustainable, or grow. It’s not just about the money. It’s also about providing the right kind of support to help our investees have the best possible chance of success. Our investees have one crucial thing in common – the ambition to build and strengthen local communities and create a positive impact.
We invest in community and social enterprises who have traditionally been excluded; turned down by mainstream banks. Particularly those in disadvantaged areas. Key Fund believes in the power of people to find solutions to the challenges facing their communities. Our mission is to remove barriers to finance.
Resonance is one of the UK’s leading social impact investment companies, established in 2002, with a mission to connect capital with social enterprise. Resonance has nearly £300m of funds under management across 12 operational social impact investment funds. These funds tackle some of the major societal issues in the UK such as homelessness, poverty, and health and wellbeing.
Resonance also works in an advisory capacity with ambitious social enterprises, helping them with professional advice on governance, impact and process.
Resonance is a B Corp, and has offices across the UK, including London, Cornwall and Manchester, with a team of over 50 supporting social enterprises and the communities they serve.
School for Social Entrepreneurs
We can’t fix issues like poverty, climate change and ill-health alone. That’s why the School for Social Entrepreneurs exists. We help 1,000 people a year develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to tackle society’s biggest problems.
We run courses that equip people to start, scale and strengthen organisations that make a positive difference. But we’re not a traditional school. Learning with SSE is inspiring, action-based and accessible. We support people in other ways too, such as funding and mentoring.
Lord Michael Young founded SSE in 1997, and we’ve grown to a network of schools across the UK, Canada and India. Together, we’re changing lives and transforming communities.
UnLtd finds, funds and supports social entrepreneurs in the UK - enterprising people with solutions to change our society for the better. From starting ups to scaling up, UnLtd's unique package of support and funding helps social entrepreneurs to realise their untapped potential and build a better society for all.
So that social entrepreneurs can achieve this potential, UnLtd also works to break down the barriers they face, such as finding customers, making a living, and getting access to finance. We set out to change the system so it works better for those who set out to change society.