Back to News

SIS passes £100m lending milestone

Social Investment Scotland increases active investments to £38m for 2020/2021.


Leading responsible finance provider Social Investment Scotland (SIS) has invested more than £100 million in 460 social enterprises, community organisations and mission-driven businesses since opening its doors in 2001, according to its latest Impact Report.

The latest annual investment figures from SIS show that active loans and investments during 2021/20 increased by more than £11 million from £28 million among 175 social enterprises in 2019/20 to £38 million among 212 social enterprises.

Lending volumes include £18.6 million in loan funds drawn by social enterprises in Scotland, and £10.7 million loaned to the growing sector of responsible lenders across the UK who, in turn, offer finance to enterprises and individuals who are unable to secure them from mainstream financial lenders. The remainder was invested in mission-driven businesses through profit-with-purpose investor SIS Ventures.

One in eight (12%) loan customers secured loans of under £50,000 underlining SIS’s support for smaller social enterprises, charities and community organisations who traditionally find it difficult to access finance. SIS also approved £10.6 million new investments for Scotland’s social enterprises during the year.

SIS took a leading role in Scotland’s COVID-19 response for the social and third sector deploying £4.6 million in COVID-19 response funds to 50 social and third sector enterprises.

As well as providing funding to help support the growth of an impact economy, SIS also scaled up its market-building activity during 2020/21, designing and managing 15 support initiatives, including its well-established Retail Academy, and 83 workshops, webinars and masterclasses, attended by 1,762 social enterprise leaders to help communities and social enterprises develop capacity, confidence, and resilience.

The activities of SIS, either directly or indirectly, benefited 1.9 million people, up from 1.4 million last year, with those benefits felt by communities in all 32 local authorities in Scotland, as well as communities in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Wolverhampton and Nottinghamshire.

Commenting on the Social Impact Report, Social Investment Scotland’s chairman, Ken Barclay, said:

“Over the past year, the team at SIS has worked incredibly hard to create and deliver financial products and programmes to support social enterprises and the third sector throughout what has undoubtedly been an exceptionally difficult year for most. We are humbled to have worked alongside the many social enterprises responding as only they know best, to the needs of their local community. We continue, patiently, supporting those social enterprises to build resilience, while providing support for those moving towards, recovery and growth. Our hope is that these social enterprises, and businesses of all kinds, will unite in our shared mission to build an impact economy.”

Case studies

Established in 2017, Well-Fed has expanded and grown from a community café to a home delivery service and commercial catering facility in Glasgow. Well-Fed help people in the local community that are at risk of food insecurity and facing social isolation. In 2020, managing director of Well-Fed Chris Gray was one of 20 social enterprise leaders to attend and complete our Ambitions for Recovery programme. This programme offered support, mentoring and coaching to help navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as looking towards recovery. Well-Fed also benefitted from £25,000 of Third Sector Resilience Funds, managed by SIS, and backed by the Scottish Government.

Having moved to its new £11m Castle Mills home in Spring 2019, leading arts charity Edinburgh Printmakers was able to offer a range of activities including open access to world-class printmaking, two galleries, a shop selling original prints and handmade products, hire spaces for meetings, events and learning activities as well as a café and community garden. In its first six months it welcomed 46,000 visitors – then the global pandemic hit, and it was forced to close its doors. In late 2020, EPM approached SIS for support in increasing its social and cultural impact. SIS was able to provide a loan of £959,000 enabling the enterprise to expand the variety and scale of services offered to communities, both locally and across Scotland. The funding came at a critical time for EPM as the organisation prepares for what is likely to be further growth in visitor numbers and demand for its services as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

The full report can be found here.