Navigating the market

The UK social investment market has been doing socially motivated deals for over ten years. It is a relatively young market with new players and better infrastructure evolving quickly.

Key players in the UK

The investors

Capital and finance providers are individuals and institutions looking to invest their money for financial and social return. They provide money to others that invest directly into VCSE organisations, like intermediaries.

The intermediaries

Social finance intermediaries or SIFIs invest directly in VCSE organisations. The term SIFI covers a wide range of activities that help connect enterprises with investment.

  • Organisations who raise funds from investors and invest that money into VCSE organisations
  • Organisations that provide online platforms for VCSE organisations to find investment
  • Organisations that help VCSE organisations to find investment from other people, or to become investment ready

As an organisation looking for an investment, SIFIs are therefore an obvious first port of call.

The borrower or investee

Charities and social enterprises looking to raise new finance to create social impact in their communities or for a specific group of beneficiaries

The advisors

A range of business advisors provide specialist services to help investees become ready to take on investment or help them develop investment proposals and complete the investment deal.

If you want help finding and raising investment, brokerage organisations can connect you with either individual or institutional investors. National umbrella bodies such as Social Enterprise UK and NCVO can also help you identify suitable support and advice. Big Society Capital and the Social Investment Forum provide information on social investors, intermediaries, news, research and opportunities.

The Government

Working at arm’s length, the Government help create the right environment to enable social investment to thrive in the UK.

This includes creating suitable tax incentives for investors, coordinating the development of key institutions in the market (like a ‘stock exchange’ or ‘Social Bloomberg’ providing a central repository of information and deals) as well as supporting the growth of the market by investing in investment readiness programmes.

Statutory bodies are also crucial customers or commissioners of services provided by investees and have a great deal of influence over their business models.

Get the guide

The social investment guide has more useful information about the social investment market, including insight into how the market works.