Where else can I find funding?

Big Potential is one of many sources of funding for voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises. We have a quick overview of some other sources of funding you might like to explore.

Getting started

Incubator loans

Cambridge Social Ventures: helps social ventures to grow by providing world class training, business advice and coaching, free shared workspace if required and access to loan finance. The incubator runs regular Social Venture Weekends at Cambridge Judge Business School which are open to anyone running a social venture, or with an idea for one. High potential social ventures are then selected to receive 12 months further support.

Keeping going

Working capital or growth finance

Key Fund: provides investments from £5000 to £300,000 to Social Enterprises based or working in the North and North Midlands. They support established businesses or new ventures with an experienced management team, seeking funding for business purposes: Capital assets; working capital– financing new or existing contracts, work in progress; growth– funding for expansion and replication; capacity building.

Big Issue Invest: currently manages the Social Enterprise Investment Fund LP, which provides growth capital to social enterprises delivering high social impact and with a scaleable business model.

Bridging loans

Bridges Ventures: All funds raised by Bridges Ventures have specific strategies to achieve a positive social and/or environmental impact. They currently have approximately £340 million under management in three Sustainable Growth Funds, the Bridges Sustainable Property Fund, CarePlaces Fund, the  Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund and the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund.

Charities Aid Foundation: CAF Venturesome provides affordable financial support to charities, social enterprises and community groups when grants may not be available and access to traditional financial institutions is difficult.

Buying assets

Key Fund: for established businesses or new ventures with an experienced management team, seeking funding for business purposes such as capital assets– purchase or renovation of land and buildings, plant and equipment, business acquisition (buy-in/buy-out).

Scaling up

Community Investment Fund: managed by Social and Sustainable Capital, the Community Investment Fund launched in February 2014. The fund invests debt and equity into community based social enterprises and charities in England. The Fund’s investors are the Social Investment Business Foundation and Big Society Capital.

The Bright Futures Fund: provides affordable, long-term financial support to charities and social enterprises delivering support to children, young people and vulnerable communities. The Fund can provide 5-year unsecured loans of up to £250,000, with interest-only payments for the first 3 years.  Bright Futures is the first UK-wide Social Investment Tax Relief fund.

Specialist and ethical banks

Charity Bank: offer flexible loans and specialist support for charities and social enterprises. They use the money saved with them to lend to charities and other organisations to help improve and enrich society.

Big Society Capital: an independent financial institution with a social mission, set up to help grow the social investment market. They are a vibrant, diverse, well capitalised and sustainable social investment market in the UK. They only invest in social investment finance intermediaries and seek both a social and a financial return from every investment they make. Through them, charities and social enterprises can access appropriate and affordable finance and support to grow their positive impact on society.

Big Society Capital also have a comprehensive portfolio of investment options. 

Triodos Bank: a global pioneer of sustainable banking. Their mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change. They connect savers and investors who want to change the world for the better with entrepreneurs and sustainable companies doing just that. They are the only specialist bank to offer integrated lending and investment opportunities for sustainable sectors in a number of European countries.

Other investment readiness funds

The Reach Fund is a two year £4m investment readiness grant programme, funded by the Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and managed by Social Investment Business. It will test a new model of investment readiness support to help charities and social enterprises raise investment.

The fund will offer small grants to charities and social enterprises who are looking to raise investment with an approved social investors – an Access Points. Charities and social enterprises will receive support from the Access Point to identify the work which will result in them being able to secure investment, and support them with a simple application process to receive a grant. Grants of up to £15,000 will be available.

Other funders and investors

ClearlySo: Download the Guide for for the Ambitious Social Entrepreneur produced by ClearlySo for The City of London Corporation and Big Society Capital for a comprehensive overview of other sources of funding.

Arts Impact Fund: a £7million initiative set up to demonstrate the potential for social investment in arts.

Big Lottery Fund:

Find out more about Big Lottery Fund's social investment guides and funds here.