There are quite a few social enterprises out there who feel they are “not a bad little business”. Of course the economic climate is tough so survival is often success in itself.
Many social entrepreneurs have heard a lot about social investment in recent years but have yet to feel the benefit themselves. A huge number don’t want to borrow money, not least as they see debt as the instrument at the heart of the financial crisis. Grants are great, of course, but there’s only so many to go around and it would be nice to prove that the business can stack up without them. Equity simply isn’t on the table for the vast majority, set up explicitly to avoid paying dividends to shareholders.
But if there was some kind of money that helped these enterprises do more of what they do well, to try out an idea or to expand into a new area - and which they only had to pay back if it worked – then they might be interested.
If this type of money existed then it would be useful for social enterprises to know more about it. This informal ‘scrapbook’ brings reports of investments along these lines which are already in the public domain together in one place. It makes no claims to originality. But hopefully, it might be helpful for those social entrepreneurs battling away on the frontlines.