CIVA:Invests

In 2016, CIVA received an endowment from an anonymous philanthropic source to create a social investment fund which would make loans to early stage social enterprises to assist them with scaling up their work to a point where they were able to attract investment from more traditional social impact investors. Our approach is to invest early, providing affordable loan finance, whilst playing an active role in helping our investees toward success.

We believe strongly that investing in the individual with the idea rather than looking at the detailed business planning, and then investing time and ideas to help make it work will provide to be a better approach than the more traditional Due Diligence decision process.

Our first investees are YearHere, a post-university programme for intending social entrepreneurs, to School Space which manages and lets out school facilities for community and educational use, and hiSbe, a supermarket that buys locally and sells affordably whilst giving producers and growers around 3 times the margin that they would get through a supermarket supply chain.

At the same time we are assisting the Real Farming Trust establish a parallel fund which we will manage to support food projects at all stages in the chain from seed development, to growing, to distribution, including also projects with a more social emphasis, such as urban growing enterprises and projects working with people with disabilities. And we are working with the Foundation for Integrated Transport to create a similar fund that will invest in public transport and providing access. Both these funds will be launched in 2017-18. Each of the three funds will have around £1 million to invest in around 20 projects.

We are producing a handbook which provides details of our approach together with all the legal compliance issues. This is available free for others to use. You can get a copy by emailing us at norton@civa.org.uk.