Even though I knew that the Growth Fund was hotly anticipated, if anything I’ve been surprised by the demand.
How we respond to that demand was a key topic of conversation when the Joint Investment Committee (JIC) met last week. This was the first time the JIC has met since the fund was launched and we had two applications to review.
We want to make around a dozen investments in SIFIs of varying sizes. With only £22.5m of grant in the pot, we will naturally want to limit the number of awards we make at the larger end. We have advertised that the maximum application size for the Growth Fund is £10m with a grant element of £3m (the guidance notes explain more about the eligible application sizes on page five).
To create more of a level playing field on which to assess these larger applications, the Joint Investment Committee (JIC) wants to review a number of these at the same time. Therefore the JIC will assess all the large applications we have received before the end of August in the Autumn. It may be that after this point the JIC won’t be able to consider any more applications at the top end in terms of grant size.
If you are a SIFI seeking to apply to the Growth Fund and your application will include a grant element at or near the maximum allowed then you are advised to get your application in by the end of August. Please see details of the expression of interest here, and the guidance here. Just to be clear, if your application does not include a grant element at or near our maximum grant amount, then there is no rush to get your application in.
We want the Growth Fund to provide opportunities for partnerships or organisations (who may never have thought of themselves as a SIFI) to develop and apply. This might be in a particular places or around particular areas of impact. These partnerships may bring together networks of charities and social enterprises, those with knowledge of the sector’s support and financing needs, and those with experience of making and managing loans. If that sounds like you then please do get in touch, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us at @si_access.
We hope that our approach to managing demand for the Fund will allow us to keep the Growth Fund open for longer. We know that some of the partnerships which we think will be well placed to reach the charities and social enterprises who have not been able to benefit from social investment before, and which will help develop new approaches, will take some time to be ready to make an application. We want to be able to give that space.