Community Investment Enterprise Fund

Providing debt finance to Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs).

Social Investment Scotland.png

The challenge

Small businesses are essential to local communities, creating jobs and bolstering economic activity, however many are unable to access mainstream finance. While they can access finance from socially motivated lenders such as Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), the CDFIs themselves face barriers to achieving long-term sustainability and securing capital at scale to meet the demand of small businesses.

Our approach

We established the Community Investment Enterprise Fund (CIEF) in 2018 to provide CDFIs with the capital they need to meet demand, and to help increase understanding of the financial and social impact of CDFI lending to attract other investors to achieve growth and long-term stability.

The fund

The fund provides capital for three CDFIs based in Wolverhampton, Doncaster, and Bradford, to help them lend to small businesses operating within surrounding areas.

The first phase of the fund saw the deployment of £72m by four CDFIs, to meet the needs of more than 960 businesses, with co-investment from Triodos and Unity Trust Bank. In April 2020, the Community Enterprise Investment Facility was adapted as part of Better Society Capital’s response to the coronavirus pandemic to ensure it could access the Government-based Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, meaning CDFI’s could provide smaller, emergency loans on a no fee, no interest basis for 12 months for underserved businesses affected by covid-19.

In 2024, the second phase of the fund begun, with co-investment from Lloyds. Lloyds has become the first mainstream lender to support the CDFI sector, underlining its commitment to investing in sustainable business and regional development including within disadvantaged areas of the UK. The fund continues to be managed by Social Investment Scotland.

  • Fund size

    £62 million
  • Better Society Capital commitment

    £10 million

Key information

  • Geography

    UK wide
  • Investment type

    Enterprise debt
  • Fund manager

    Social Investment Scotland
  • Investment status

  • Investment date


Sustainable development goals

  • 1: No Poverty End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • 12: Responsible Consumption and Production Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development