The pandemic hit businesses hard, and many have struggled to keep their heads above water. Charities and social enterprises have been particularly affected, with funding drying up and donors cutting back on their giving.
Flexible Finance is intended to assist organisations led by Black and Racially Minoritised teams to get back on track, offering loans of between £50k and £1.5m, with up to 100% grant match funding on loans secured, and support through the application process and follow-on business support.
Flexible Finance is a partnership between the Social Investment Business (SIB), Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, and The Ubele Initiative. It supports organisations that are improving people’s lives or the environment they live in, and it is making loans more accessible for charities and social enterprises led by people from Black and Minoritised Ethnic communities.
In addition to a loan, organisations will receive personalised support to apply for Flexible Finance, unrestricted grants of up to 100% of the loan value (capped at £200k), and bespoke business support once the finance has been secured. This additional support is being made available alongside Flexible Finance to address historical imbalances in the access to finance that affect Black and Racially Minoritised-led organisations.
To be eligible to apply for Flexible Finance and receive additional support, the organisation must:
Be a charity or social enterprise
Have at least 51% of its Board and Senior Leadership Team from BAME communities
Have a turnover of above £200k
Be applying for a loan of between £50k and £1.5m
Have been operating for more than two years
Operate in England.
This initiative comes as a response to findings from the Reforming Social Enterprise report from the Adebowale Commission, which highlighted that structural barriers prevent Black-led social enterprises from accessing social investment and debt-based finance. SIB’s analysis of data on over 4,000 organisations in its diversity dashboard found that Black and Racially Minoritised-led organisations tend to be smaller in size and less likely to access loan finance.
Flexible Finance and the additional support available through The Ubele Initiative, SIB, Access, and Create Equity will go a long way in helping Black and Racially Minoritised-led organisations to access the finance they need to survive and thrive. The aim of the initiative is to address some of the historical imbalances in the access to finance that affect these organisations and enable them to continue to make a positive impact.
Flexible Finance is open for applications until 11.59pm on Sunday, 31st of December 2023. Organisations that intend to access additional support should select “Ubele Initiative” as the partner they would like to assess their application on their application form, or contact email@example.com for more information.