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  • The Catalyst Fund (loans for social enterprises)

    Created: 02/06/2021

    The Catalyst Fund is a new kind of social investment product that supports ambitious social enterprises to start and scale their businesses. It offers loans starting at £50K using a flexible, revenue-based repayment model.

    The fund is open all year round for social enterprises looking for social investment of over £50,000 to help them start and grow their business.  
    If you are interested in applying for the Catalyst Fund, the first step is to attend one of First Port's information webinars (more information below) and submit a note of interest.  

    Who can apply?

    The Catalyst Fund is for ambitious social enterprises in Scotland who have potential to deliver significant social impact but are unable to access existing social investment products. For example, start-ups with significant set up costs or scale up costs that need more time to generate income before paying back their loans.

    Please check the following eligibility criteria:

    • My enterprise aims to provide direct social benefit to individuals, communities and/or the environment. (Firstport does not fund enterprises whose main activities are directed at providing benefit to other organisations.)
    • My enterprise is up and running and I am able to provide evidence of potential income generation and social impact.
    • Profits from the enterprise are reinvested in the business and its social aims. No assets or uncapped dividends may be transferred out of the organisation to private individuals or bodies. Note: you (and any other individuals working for the enterprise) will still be able to take a fixed salary, but profits generated on top of this must be reinvested
    • My enterprise has considered other forms or providers of investment to fund my project/ my business. (eg banks, other social investors, angel investment). It is important that you consider whether other social investment products available might be suitable for your enterprise.

    To apply for the Catalyst Fund, you should attend an information webinar – after attending, if you think the fund is right for you, complete an Expression of Interest.  

    Webinar Dates for applicants:  

    More information on the application process can be found here. 

    How does revenue-based repayment work? 

    The Catalyst Fund offers a flexible repayment model, this means that you begin to pay back a loan only when you have begun to generate revenue. The monthly repayment amount will be based on the revenue you have earned; on good trading months you will pay back more, on months where trading revenue is lower, you will pay back less.

    A model like this gives your social enterprise the time and flexibility it needs to grow at a pace that matches your ambitions.

    There is no definitive closing date for this fund.

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