South East Co-operative Supportbreakthrough
Our investment readiness services
SECS (www.secs.coop) provides a full investment readiness and business development service. We work with clients to examine the entire business, identifying areas for improvement in the enterprise ranging from product/service, market, marketing and commercial performance to management processes and inclusiveness/strength of governance through to social impact measurement.
Our specialism lies in assisting democratically controlled social enterprises, particularly co-operatives and community benefit societies, to attract the right investment – using proven sources such as debt finance, Withdrawable Shares and loan stock.
- business planning
- governance improvements
- market development
- human resources and other management systems
- financial planning
- organisation design
- legal registration
- support with accessing appropriate investment
We are experienced in balancing financial needs of clients with appropriate investment (equity, quasi-equity or debt finance) that doesn't compromise social ownership and aims of organisations. This can include member investment & community share offers.
Past clients who have received support to access finance include:
- West Solent Solar Co-operative, who raised £2.61 Million through a community share offer
- Hastings Pier who successfully raised £590,000
- Bevendean Pub who went on to complete a £75,000 community share offer and attract £110,000 of grants
Clients will usually receive preliminary business planning in order to identify the investment requirement and most desirable mix of finance. Once the most suitable form of investment is identified, a detailed business plan and, where applicable, offer document is created to present the business case for lending, credibility of the enterprise, demonstrating the commercial strength of the business plus anticipated return on investment and social impact. During the business planning process, clients receive consultancy support to address specific weaknesses in the business. Due diligence checks will be provided to ensure the enterprise is likely to meet investor requirements before making an offer or application for investment. We also provide assistance with marketing and promotion of investment opportunities (within regulations) and identification of investors looking for borrowers through our professional networks. Our team can provide staff and member training in governance and business management.
SECS has provided business support to hundreds of co-operatives and social enterprises since 2002. Since 2011 we have managed and quality controlled delivery by 13 sub-contractor organisations and 24 advisors for Co-operative Enterprise Hub across 2 regions. In 2012-13, 156 clients received support.
Co-operative & Community Finance have joined our delivery team for Big Potential to assist with due diligence checks. Using their experience as a lender, their scrutiny will help ensure clients are in a position to meet investor requirements and will recommend improvements to investment proposals. CCF's track record of 40 years lending and assessing loan applications brings an “investor's view”. The strength of their assessment is demonstrated by their low loss rate on loans (3% of balance over last 5 years on loans of £5.2M to 159 borrowers).