T: 0800 464 0797 E: investment@firstark.com

Why the social economy is stuck in first gear

Many social enterprises and charities grow slower than they could or should. The reason is often a lack of investment. Without money to support short-term needs and nurture long-term goals, potential positive social impact is delayed or even lost.

Invest for Impact is a new fund set up to help charities and social enterprises operating in the North West. It’s designed to solve the problems they face getting investment. The money and pre-application and post-investment support from First Ark Social Investment helps many different kinds of organisation to grow and create more social value for people in the region.

The social investment problem

A lack of grants means that many social enterprises have to look for money from other sources. There is some ‘social finance’ out there, but investors’ terms often don’t match what social enterprises want or need, so they never apply for it.

Some groups may be put off after bad experiences. They may have been turned down in the past or they may have concerns about hidden costs. Unsure about how to tackle the application or manage repayments, they often feel isolated by the process and decide that a loan just isn’t right for them.

Without the money they need, fewer people are helped, fewer opportunities are created and potential social benefit is wasted.

Investment and support the way you need it

Invest for Impact is designed to get investment to social enterprises and charities that may have struggled to find what they need elsewhere, giving them more choice.

With an open and transparent approach, Invest for Impact removes confusion for applicants. It’s available in more flexible amounts, typically between £50,000 and £150,000. It’s ‘blended finance’ – with up to 30% available as a grant, depending on what your requirements are. The loan element has flexible terms, with interest rates between 6.5% and 12% APR*.

But it’s not just about the money. Invest for Impact is delivered by First Ark Social Investment, part of the First Ark Group. We’ve been working in the social sector in the North West for years, building up a strong network of contacts and plenty of experience creating and sustaining social value.

Our team will work with you to get ‘investment ready’ – helping you do the planning and paperwork to make a good case for financing. This comes in the form of pre-application and post-investment support.

Then, once you’ve been successful, you’re not on your own. We’ll keep offering support for the life of the investment, helping you to manage growth and get the best value out of every penny.

Is it right for my organisation?

Invest for Impact is geared towards growing social impact in the North West of England, so as long as your work includes improving the lives of people in the region it could be for you. We’ll need to see how the investment will be used to create and sustain more ‘social impact’, so there will need to be some paperwork and procedures – but we can offer support in this process of getting you ‘investment ready’.

Social impact can take many forms, from helping substance abusers to get back on their feet, to teaching excluded people new skills to find work, to getting housebound people out and about, or just making a neighbourhood feel safer and more welcoming.

Investment could be used to just do more of whatever you’re already doing, or to develop completely new ideas for creating and sustaining social impact.


  • Are you a voluntary organisation, charity or social enterprise?
  • Does your work include the North West of England?
  • Can you use social investment finance to create a wider social impact?

If it’s a yes (or even a maybe!) to all of these questions then why not come along to our roadshow and find out more?

Join us on our Invest for Impact roadshow

Or if you can’t wait…

Drop us an email at investforimpact@firstark.com or call 0800 464 0797. One of our team can answer your questions, talk you through Invest for Impact and tell you what you need to get ‘investment ready’.

*An annual percentage rate (APR) is the annual rate charged for borrowing or earned through an investment, and is expressed as a percentage that represents the actual yearly cost of funds over the term of a loan.
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