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Delivering Capital at Scale: CIEF Seeking Community Lenders

Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is delighted to be managing the £30 million Community Investment Enterprise Facility (CIEF), which has been established by Big Society Capital.

Since being established in 2001, SIS has built up a deep understanding of the needs of disadvantaged communities, and the vital role that small businesses play in addressing these needs across the UK; both as employers of local people and drivers of economic activity. Yet, many are unable to access mainstream finance to sustain and grow their businesses, even if they are creditworthy.

There are alternative socially motivated lenders, such as Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), who are deeply rooted in the communities that they serve. Whilst they are partly meeting this need, CDFIs themselves face barriers to achieving their long-term sustainability and securing significant capital, at scale, to fully meet the demand of underserved small businesses.

This is where the Community Investment Enterprise Facility, or CIEF, comes in. There is an opportunity to support the CDFI sector reach a ‘tipping point’ where it can leverage significant capital to better meet the needs of small businesses, helping them to create or keep jobs and strengthen local communities. This, in turn, has a range of social impact outcomes from more prosperous communities to increased well-being for individuals.

This new facility, delivering capital at scale, is an important next step for the CDFI sector as a whole, and we hope it will help the sector attract greater attention and credibility with mainstream investors”

Alastair Davis, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland

The £30 million Community Investment Enterprise Facility (CIEF) will partially meet the capital need of CDFIs, help build a better understanding of the financial and social impact performance of CDFI lending, and test models of funding for CDFIs to attract other mission-driven investors.

Big Society Capital has also commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University to evaluate the facility to help create a more robust evidence base for CDFI lending. It is hoped that this will allow for data that is both accessible and transparent.

The Community Investment Enterprise Facility (CIEF) is suited to community lenders who are looking to borrow a minimum of £3 million and who, in turn, will on-lend to micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSMEs) to stimulate the sector and deliver true social impact. Those CDFIs who must be prepared to seek match funding, report on social impact and participate in a study with Sheffield Hallam University.

With discussions already progressing with an initial group of CDFIs, SIS is now looking for further community lenders to express their interest in this opportunity, before 5pm on the 20th July 2018. To register your interest, or find out more about the criteria for CIEF, get in touch at