Social Investment Business might lend to 'profit-distributing' organisations

Jonathan Jenkins, chief executive of the social lender, says it wants to 'broaden the definition of social venture'

Jonathan Jenkins
Jonathan Jenkins

The Social Investment Business might launch new funds that lend money outside of the charity and social enterprise sector, its chief executive Jonathan Jenkins said last night.

Jenkins, speaking at a Big Society Network event at Somerset House in London to discuss research in the social investment sector, said his organisation – the largest social lender in the UK – was attempting to raise one or two new funds that could "do something broader than is reasonably possible with government money".

Jenkins said that, at present, all the funds managed by the Social Investment Business were government money and were lent to meet new policy objectives, but its new funds were likely to have a much wider range of potential investees.

He said that he was interested in lending to organisations that were capable of distributing a profit but still had a social purpose.

He said he was "not a fan" of describing a social enterprise by its legal structure. "The exciting territory for me is stuff that’s profit-distributing," he said. "There’s so much more potential there for social ventures.

"That’s not saying that charity and social enterprise are doing anything wrong. But I think we need to broaden the definition of social venture or, indeed, lose it altogether."

Speaking at the same event, Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive of the the social investment wholesaler Big Society Capital, said that, based on applications for capital to his organisation, he expected to see "seven or eight new funds" lending money to social enterprises within the next year.

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