What next for blended finance?

Developing more blended finance funds, and championing its role in supporting charities and social enterprises towards greater resilience and impact.

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Building more blended finance programmes

We have learned a great deal from managing the Growth Fund, and are working on building on this track record to manage a wider portfolio of blended finance programmes. 

Over the next three years we will work closely with Big Society Capital in managing £10m of dormant accounts money as a grant to blend with BSC’s capital with a focus on supporting communities experiencing disadvantage.

We will build on what we have learned from managing the Growth Fund, including those funds which are focused on a specific geography, and create a flexible blend for social investors, in particular one which encourages more patient and long term investment products than have been available from the Growth Fund.

In a similar way to our work on the Growth Fund, we will seek to maximise our learning from this initiative to better build the sector’s knowledge about how blended approaches work, especially in the context of place based investment.

We will continue to work with Government, other foundations and other potential donors to identify opportunities for further blended models which will best meet the sector’s needs and where there might be a meaningful role for Access to play.

Championing the role of blended finance

While there is more that we can learn from building our portfolio of blended finance programmes, to best achieve our vision we need to encourage greater supply of blended finance for the sector from a wide range of sources.

The Growth Fund has been one of a number of blended approaches, all designed to overcome particular challenges which can better connect the right sort of capital to the charities and social enterprises which need it. Other major initiatives include the Third Sector Loan Fund run by Social and Sustainable Capital, and the Arts Impact Fund, run by NESTA.

Access will build its role as a hub of knowledge and learning about these initiatives, and seek to influence key actors within and funders of the social investment market to better understand how blended finance approaches can unlock more capital for the sector in a way which best suits the sectors’ needs around risk, scale and impact. Critical to this will be to understand and evaluate different approaches to blending, the impact of those different approaches on charities and social enterprises and their long term resilience, and how to best use the precious grant subsidy to generate the maximum possible social impact.

Building on our specific approach to learning we will seek to develop clear offers for potential providers of grant support, including Government, Foundations and corporates, for blended funds, and seek to broaden the range of intermediaries who are knowledgeable about managing blended finance.