Social Investment: Meet the social investor – Foundation Scotland

Get to know some of the social investment providers in Scotland, so you can learn more about their products and other support they offer.

This is the fourth instalment in our social investment series. If you have been following the series, you should now be more familiar with the concepts of social investment and investment readiness, as well as the different types of products you can access.

Over the next few blog posts, we’ll introduce you to some of the social investment providers in Scotland, so you can learn more about their products and other support they offer.

First up is Foundation Scotland. It took over the corporate trusteeship of the JESSICA (Scotland) Trust in April 2021. Building on the successful work of Resilient Scotland, Foundation Scotland continues to offer flexible investments to the sector.

Chris Holloway, Head of Social Investment, Foundation Scotland

We caught up with Chris Holloway, their Head of Social Investment, to learn more about what they do:

What products do you offer to social enterprises?
We offer a product called Investing in Enterprise. It offers support across 13 local authorities and can provide investments between £10,000 and £500,000. The best part is that up to half of the total amount is a grant, leaving the rest as a loan. If you borrow £100,000, you only pay £50,000 back (plus interest).

This blended approach is particularly attractive to new enterprises that need that extra injection of capital to move their business forward.

What are the main reasons your clients want to gain investment?
There are a variety of reasons. Social investment may be needed for the purchase of stock or equipment, staffing costs or other revenue support. It is up to the applicant to show us what they need and for us to listen and support them the best we can.

Apart from investment, do you offer any other support for potential or existing clients?
As well as the money, there is regular contact from our team – you will have a named investment executive. With years of experience, they will be on hand to offer you help, advice or simple words of encouragement as your journey progresses. Furthermore, we have a group of mentors that we can use to provide a more hands-on role if the road is bumpier than first thought!

How does your process work and how long does it take?
The process is easy. Give us a call and talk us through your plans and what you need money for. If you fit our eligibility criteria, we will send you a brief application form for completion. If the investment needs are something that we can help with, then we will have more detailed discussions, considering business plans and more technical financial aspects. Depending on the applicant, a decision can be obtained in two months.

Finally, help us bust the social investment myths- are there any common misconceptions or assumptions about social investment that you hear from clients?
People always assume that social investment is not for them, but how will they know if they don’t ask!

You can find out more about the Investment in Enterprise programme here. As Chris says, how will you know if it is right for you or not if you don’t ask?