The Catalyst Fund is now open for applications.
The fund is a new social investment product supporting social enterprises to start and scale their businesses and deliver social impact. It offers loans starting at £50,000, using a flexible, revenue-based repayment model.
The fund is open all year round; in order to apply, social enterprises should first attend an information webinar, and then submit a note of interest.
The next webinars take place:
- Tuesday 3rd August at 11am – BOOKING LINK
- Thursday 19th August at 1pm – BOOKING LINK
- Wednesday 1st September at 10am – BOOKING LINK
To apply for the Catalyst Fund, social enterprises should first attend an information webinar (linked above). After attending, if you think the fund is right for you, complete an online Expression of Interest (linked for your convenience).
Firstport will contact you within 3 days of receiving your expression of interest, advising you on the next best steps for your organisation. In most cases, this will entail a meeting with their Investment and Growth Manager to discuss your organisation’s readiness to take on social investment.
Afterwards, you will be provided with guidance on what next steps are needed for you to progress. If appropriate at this stage, you will be invited to apply to the Catalyst Fund via Firstport’s online application form.
On receiving this application, Firstport will invite you to undertake an assessment meeting with their Head of Investment. This meeting will occur over a video conferencing tool, or in-person when allowed, and provides you with a more in-depth opportunity to discuss your growth and investment plans with Firstport.
After the meeting, an assessment of your application will be sent to an independent investment committee, who will make the final decision. Firsport aims to provide you with a decision within 8 weeks of the date you submitted your application.
The Catalyst Fund is for specifically geared towards 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 or scale-up costs, who need more time to generate income before paying back their loans.)
Applicants should ensure that:
- their social enterprise aims to provide direct social benefit to individuals, communities and/or the environment
- please note: Firstport does not fund enterprises whose main activities are directed at providing benefit to other organisations
- their social enterprise is up and running, and they are 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
- 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
- their social enterprise has considered other forms or providers of investment to fund their project or business (eg banks, other social investors, angel investment)
- it is important to consider whether other social investment products available might be suitable for your enterprise
How Revenue-Based Repayments Work
The Catalyst Fund offers a flexible repayment model, meaning that successful applicants begin to pay back a loan only when they have begun to generate revenue. The monthly repayment amount will be based on the revenue they have earned; on good trading months they will pay back more, on months where trading revenue is lower, they will pay back less.
This model is designed to give social enterprises the time and flexibility needed to grow at a pace that matches their ambitions.
To book your place at an information webinar, or for further information, please visit the Firstport website.