Social Investment Scotland announces £5m fund for high impact enterprises

Bill Crossan and Thomas Gillan
Bill Crossan and Thomas Gillan

SIS Ventures is launching its first £5 million fund to back Scotland’s high impact enterprises.

Benefiting from both Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) relief and Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR), Impact First will offer investors a portfolio of between six and twelve high-growth potential, high-impact enterprises which aim to tackle a clearly identifiable social problem with a scalable and disruptive business solution.

The first close seeks to raise £2m from UK-based private investors, with the capital targeted for deployment over 12-18 months. Investments will target EIS (equity) or SITR (debt) qualifying companies.

Entrepreneurs with an ambition to make a difference whilst growing their business, will have access to mission-aligned investment through debt and equity investment delivered by SIS Ventures, the mission-led investment arm of responsible finance provider Social Investment Scotland (SIS).

A recent market study by SIS revealed that entrepreneurs feel that existing early stage investors often overlook social impact and values are not always aligned. It is hoped that Impact First will provide capital to fuel a growing desire by these entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business with a mission-led approach.

The fund is the first to be established by SIS Ventures, since its recent formation, under the chairmanship of experienced Scottish investor Bill Crossan.

Thomas Gillan, director of SIS Ventures, said: “Creating a fund which offers a portfolio of both debt and equity provides investors with a unique vehicle to invest in high growth potential, socially-focused businesses offering both a financial and social return. We know there’s appetite on the part of investors and early stage enterprises for such a fund, and we’re confident we’ll receive significant interest. Investors now have a chance to become part of something truly ground-breaking and really move the needle for social impact investing.”

Mr Crossan added: “The world of business and, particularly enterprise, has evolved in recent years. A new breed of entrepreneur has emerged looking to make money but also, more importantly, looking to make a difference. The main problem to date is that there has been very little investment capital available for such enterprises. With our new fund, social entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to access both debt and equity funding, with the aim of scaling up their operations and maximising their social impact.”

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