The latest of our quarterly dashboards covers the period up to and including April to June 2017. Here we share the headlines.
The Growth Fund (Dashboard Part 1)
The Growth Fund funds organisations to make small loans to charities and social enterprises. At the end of June, five social investment funds were open and actively lending and had received £4.4m from Access (£2.1m this quarter). A further five funds had been approved and were in the final stages of negotiation. Two more were in due diligence and seven others were working on applications.
At the 30th June the five live funds had received a total of 598 enquiries and 96 applications from charities and social enterprises. 72 of these applications had been approved for an average investment of £67k (the maximum amount per loan allowed via the Growth Fund is £150K). 52 loans had already been deployed, with £3.5m of funds having been passed on to charities and social enterprises by the end of the quarter.
The charities and social enterprise who receive loans have an average turnover of £763k and a median of 5 employees (FTE), with 18% having received Reach Fund or other capacity building support prior to receiving investment. The loans were provided with an average loan term of 46 months and at an average rate of interest of 7.6%. 38% of the loan recipients received a Growth Fund grant from their social investor alongside their loan.
We are pleased to be seeing a good geographical spread of recipients across England – you can see this plus details of the individual loans on our interactive map. This spread, along with the average loan and turnover figures, indicate that our five social investors are meeting the overall objectives of the Growth Fund: to provide small amounts of unsecured lending to support a diverse range of charities and social enterprises.
Capacity Building (Dashboard Part 2)
Part two of the dashboard focuses on our investment readiness programmes.
The Reach Fund provides investment readiness grants to charities and social enterprises via social investor ‘Access Points’ (APs) and is managed by Social Investment Business (SIB). The fund has been issuing grants since November 2016 and by the end of June had issued £496k of funding, with 35 of the 43 applicants having received grants averaging £14.2k. The total funding issued is less than we had anticipated at this stage, but this is part of the learning process, and SIB are working with the APs to better forecast the likely numbers of grants in the fund’s second year of operation. Like the Growth Fund recipients, these charities and social enterprises represent a wide geographical spread across England, which you can see in more detail on our interactive map of the grants. During the quarter, five new social investors were approved as Access Points taking the total number of providers to 15.
The Impact Management Programme aims to build the capacity of charities and social enterprises to manage their social impact and is delivered by a consortium of partners managed by NPC. The programme is designed for and with charities and social enterprises, and during the quarter the Pathway Strand held three more co-design sessions attended by 34 organisations. During the period the programme’s Growth Strand conducted its pilot grant phase, which saw £493k of funding distributed in eleven grants averaging £44.8k. You can view a list of the recipients here. If you’re interested in taking part in the next round, you can register here (registration closes on 6th September, but will open again at the end of September).
The Connect Fund was set up to help improve the infrastructure of the social investment market. It was launched in June and is managed by Barrow Cadbury Trust. During the quarter the fund invited submissions under the first round of expressions of interest. 62 applications were received, which covered a wide range of topic themes; business development, capacity building, data sharing, diversity, market information, networks, shared resources, skill development and standard templates. 40 of the applications were a strong fit for the first EOI round and sought an average of £60.9k (£2.4m in total). The remaining 22 will be considered alongside the second round of EOIs, to which theme they were better suited. You can read more about the first few months of the fund in Connect Fund Manager Jessica Brown’s guest blog for Access.
As well as using our £60m endowment to fund these (and future) capacity building programmes and research over our ten year life, we are seeking to achieve social impact even before the funds are given in grants by investing under our total impact approach. This quarter the proportion of the funds invested in the ‘bull’s eye’ of our model has increased again, exceeding 35%. In June we published our most detailed update yet, sharing not only the proportion of investments in each tier but details of the bonds held within these. You can read the update blog here.
The full Q2 2017 dashboard is available here.
Updates since June
Whilst the dashboard covers the period up to 30th June, lots more has happened since!
We’ve seen the launch of another Growth Fund social investment fund (Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations), taking the number of live funds to six. We have also signed a further three, which we look forward to announcing soon, and have many more in the pipeline. The Reach Fund has also gained three more Access Points, and the Impact Management Programme has opened the sign up window for its next series of Impact for Growth training sessions.
We look forward to sharing all this and more in our future dashboards.
A note on process
We are publishing these reports every three months, approximately six to eight weeks following each calendar quarter’s end. This is for two reasons. Firstly, we want to give our partners, fund managers and programme administrators adequate time to provide us with data on their activity. Absorbing complexity as far as possible and trying not to over-burden social investors and others with excessive reporting requirements and short deadlines is integral to the design of all of our programmes. Secondly, we want to ensure that we take the time to fully understand and analyse all of the data that we have so that we can hopefully provide the most useful summary figures and snapshots of our programmes and funds. We hope that by taking this approach we will be able to maximise both our own learning and that of any interested parties.
At Access, learning and openness are at the heart of everything that we do. We are committed both to learning from all of our activity and to sharing this as much as possible. Our hope is that this will be of benefit to social investors, other providers of loans and grants and others in the social investment market and therefore, ultimately, to the charities and social enterprises which we exist to support.
Our next quarterly dashboard, for the period up to and including July to September 2017, will be published during November. If you would like to keep up to date with our programmes and funds in the meantime you can view our other blogs, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter and follow us on Twitter. You can also read more of our learning and analysis on our Learning and Research page.