On Wednesday, Crowdfunder UK announced it, along with Ethex and ThinCats, will be partnering with Big Society Capital for a new £10 million Crowd Match Fund, which will allow the public to invest directly in charities and social enterprises. The trio will help connect people with the causes they care about by listing social sector organizations who want to raise debt and equity finance.
According to Crowdfunder UK, the £10 million fund will see Big Society Capital match crowdfunded investments made by individuals into Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) eligible charities and social enterprises. It will be considered the first of its kind to match different investments made by the public across the social sector. Private investors will qualify for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR), which offers a 30% tax break.
Sharing more details about the fund, Ben Warren, Investment Associate at Big Society Capital, stated:
“This fund marks a totally new approach for social investment and crowdfunding. By bringing together the experience and knowledge of these three partners we want to open up opportunities for the public to invest in a huge variety of causes they feel passionate about. We hope that this initiative will help charities and social enterprises to find new routes to investment which could offer better value and engagement from their local community. We know that donation-based crowdfunding was the fastest growing model of alternative finance in 2015, and we are excited about the potential for this fund to create similar momentum in the social investment sector.”
Kevin Caley, CEO of Community Chest and founder of the ThinCats platform, explained:
“By providing loans to enterprising projects with a clear mandate for social good, Big Society Capital has provided an exciting new source of finance for social enterprises and charities, many of whom have struggled for funding during recent years. This makes it the perfect partner for ThinCats, and Community Chest in particular, which connects investors in search of financial returns with social enterprises in need of funding. By doing so Community Chest is providing a tax-efficient way to make a difference in the community, allowing private investors the opportunity to support a good cause while potentially earning a return on their investment. The new Crowd Match Fund is a real step change for social funding and could become the lifeblood for dozens of social projects in the years to come.”
Phil Geraghty, Managing Director of Crowdfunder UK, noted:
“This is going to be a game changer for groups looking to do Community Share offers. We know from Crowdfunder’s experience that matching can supercharge campaigns and that for every pound of matched funds for reward-based crowdfunding, it levers in £4 from the public. For community groups with big plans and projects, in our experience community shares are the main way they’ll fund those, and being able to incentivise their supporters to invest will be a fantastic addition.”
Lisa Ashford, CEO of Ethex, then added:
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Big Society Capital to roll out this innovative match fund scheme to help social enterprises find the finance they need to grow and flourish. This scheme will encourage more people to invest in businesses they believe in so they can have a direct connection with their money. Having raised close to £50m in investment for organisations that have a positive impact on the world, we can’t wait to make more money do good.”