Big Society Capital interim fund invests in Franchising Works

The Big Society Capital interim fund has made investments worth ??3.1m in four organisations, the Cabinet Office has announced.

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said the Big Society Investment Fund, which was established to make investments while Big Society Capital secures the necessary approvals to begin work on its own, had used money from dormant bank accounts.

The money, administered by the Big Lottery Fund, will support:

- The social enterprise FranchisingWorks, which will receive a ??1m investment to help long-term unemployed people set up their own franchise businesses

- The Social Stock Exchange will get ??850,000 to set up a stock exchange for social enterprises

- The Community Generation Fund will receive ??750,000 to set up an initiative to create community-owned social enterprises in deprived communities that offer green energy and reinvest profits in the neighbourhood

- The social lender Triodos Bank, which will use its ??500,000 investment to help young people in Merseyside.

It is the second batch of investments from dormant accounts funds. The first investment, of ??1m into a project run by the Private Equity Foundation, was announced in July.

The interim committee will consider more proposals at what is expected to be its final meeting in February, the Cabinet Office said.

Big Society Capital was this month given approval for its structure over the next five years from the European Commission under state-aid rules, which are designed to prevent countries affording unfair advantage to businesses.

It also needs to get the green light from the Financial Services Authority but is expected to begin making investments by April.

It is expected to handle funds totalling about ??600m over five years, with ??400m coming from dormant bank accounts and ??200m from four high-street banks.

Hurd said: “This is about putting money that has been lying around dormant in bank accounts for years to good use in projects that will benefit our local communities and social entrepreneurs.”

Nick O???Donohoe, chief executive of Big Society Capital, said: “I am very excited by the breadth of ideas and the geographic spread of the investments of the Big Society Investment Fund, which bodes well for future financing proposals we hope to see when Big Society Capital opens for business.”

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