Charities and social enterprises require small amounts of affordable finance to allow them to create more social impact, particularly as they develop ways to earn income. Despite having been set up for this purpose, many social investment intermediaries struggle to provide this type of finance.
Why is this? The social investment market is immature. The type or structure of finance on offer might make it too expensive. There are many information gaps and lack of shared data. Resources could be better shared to lower transaction costs. Social enterprises need capacity building to be investment ready. Brokers with strong connections to specific places or sectors may be required.
Some of these challenges can be addressed by catalysing shared resources and market infrastructure; and by testing new ways for existing voluntary sector infrastructure to engage with social investment.
Why the Barrow Cadbury Trust?
The Access Foundation chose the Barrow Cadbury Trust to deliver the Connect Fund because of our experience in social investment, expertise in voluntary sector infrastructure, and our approach, which is to work in partnership with those we fund towards a common goal.
Our model of working is to focus on a small number of policy areas, where we have deep knowledge, and try to influence decision-makers and practitioners by building an evidence base, advocating for change and ensuring that people affected by social injustices are heard by those in positions of power.
As a social justice foundation with an interest in social investment, Barrow Cadbury Trust has long been aware that social investment products on offer do not serve large sections of the social sector. Our values – including collaboration, engagement, independence and learning — inform the development and delivery of the Connect Fund.