ACF pledges to speed up Futurebuilders process

The Adventure Capital Fund has pledged to speed up the application process for Futurebuilders money as part of its plans for running the fund.

In an interview with Third Sector, ACF chief executive Jonathan Lewis said one of the organisation's priorities would be to make quick decisions.

"We need to speed up the process dramatically," he said. "Experienced people can tell within 20 minutes if they want to do a deal with someone, and it shouldn't then take six months to get the money there. We are a doing company and we want to get the deals done and get the money out."

The ACF's plans also include establishing a 'Futurebuilders university' to educate charities about how to prepare for bidding, and a new team that will search the UK for suitable organisations to invest in, Lewis said.

The investment committee, which will be set up as a sub-committee of the main Futurebuilders board, will have delegated powers to make decisions on where and how to invest. It will meet once a month.

The Futurebuilders university would bring together charities and public sector commissioners in an effort to open up dialogue between the two and share expertise, Lewis said. "We need to act almost as a dating agency to match up organisations and create a place where they will be able to talk to each other," he added.

Lewis said the organisation would provide an as yet unspecified proportion of its investment money as grants alongside loans. "But applicants cannot just take the grant and not the loan," he added.

The ACF will, said Lewis, begin a process of chasing up organisations that had been promised both grants and loans but had so far only taken the grant element of the investment.

The ACF beat off current incumbent Futurebuilders England to win the contract to run the £215m Futurebuilders fund, which will provide finance to third sector organisations so that they can take on public sector delivery contracts (Third Sector Online, 28 January).

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