FAQs

Is there a difference between impact investment, social investment and repayable finance?

Repayable finance is a broad term which encompasses a lot of financial products such as overdrafts, secured and unsecured loans, bonds and equity investment. In recent years, awareness and interest in the positive and negative outcomes and externalities of investing has grown, leading to practices such as negative screening, responsible investing (taking into account environmental, social and corporate governance issues) and impact investing, which explicitly seeks out positive social and/or environmental impact as well as a financial return. Social investment and impact investment are often used interchangeably, especially when it comes to investment funds focused on tackling social issues. We prefer to use impact investment or, for the avoidance of doubt, social impact investment.

What is social impact investment?

Social impact investment is the use of repayable finance to achieve a social as well as financial return. There is a lot of information available on how impact investment works and what funding and support is available for organisations seeking to take on this type of investment, some of which is available on our Resources page.

What types of organisations are eligible?

We invest in organisations working in the arts and cultural sector. Different funds will have specific eligibility criteria depending on their objectives and the investors backing the fund. For more details, please see the page of the fund you are interested in applying to or contact a member of our team at the contact details at the bottom of the page.

I am an individual artist, can I apply for finance?

We do not fund individual artists. If you are an artist looking to raise investment, you could apply in partnership with an incorporated organisation or set up your own enterprise. There are also other forms of funding and support which are available to individual artists, such as Arts Council England’s new Developing Your Creative Practice fund. We list some of these on our Resources page.

 

 

Can I apply if my organisation is based outside England?

At present, we do not invest in organisations based outside of England, however this might change in the future. Our funds have different eligibility criteria due to the requirements of our investors. You can check the full eligibility criteria for each fund we manage by visiting that fund’s page.

How can I submit an application?

You are not required to submit a formal application form. You can send an enquiry for finance using the Enquire page on our website or get in touch with us using the contact details provided in the footer at the bottom of this page.

What happens after I have submitted an enquiry?

A member of our team will assess your enquiry against the eligibility criteria of each fund and whether it could proceed to the next stage of the investment application process. If unsuccessful, we will notify you via email. Should your enquiry go through to the next stage, we will be in touch for further information, which will help us decide which fund your enquiry is most suitable for and whether your organisation is ready to take on investment. If your application reaches the investment proposal stage, you will be expected to provide further information and meet with the Arts & Culture Finance team as part of a due diligence process. More information about this process is available on our Resources page.

 

You can always contact us if you would like further feedback about your investment enquiry or our decision, just use any of the contact details provided in the footer at the bottom of this page.

How long does it take to get investment?

The time it takes to go through the investment process from initial enquiry through to the signing of a loan agreement varies and is largely dependent on the strength of the investment case and the quality of the applicant’s supporting information (e.g. business plans, financial forecasts, social impact reports). This process is likely to take at least three months and could take as many as 12 – we would suggest getting in touch with us as soon as possible.

 

Additional time may be required if your organisation needs further support to take on investment and depending on the date of our next investment committee meeting.

I am interested in receiving investment but am not ready to apply - will I miss the investment window?

Applications for investment to any of the funds are open on a rolling basis. The Cultural Impact Development Fund will be open for investments for three years and you can apply at any time during that period.

What support is available for organisations looking for investment?

We are able to offer support to organisations looking for investment via the Reach Fund for which we are an access point – for more details, see here. Other organisations also offer investment readiness support, you can see some of them on our Resources page.

What rate of interest do you charge?

Interest rates are variable depending on which fund you receive investment from and on the circumstances of your organisation. Loans offered via the Cultural Impact Development Fund bear an interest rate of between 5.5% and 8.5% per annum. These are fixed rates and are not affected by changes in the Bank of England base rate. The exact interest rate you will be offered would be determined by our assessment of financial risk, social impact and duration of the loan, among other factors. In addition, Cultural Impact Development Fund will pioneer a type of social impact incentive which will give an opportunity to reduce the overall interest payable on loans with a minimum term of 36 months, subject to your organisation achieving the social impact monitoring targets set at the time of the investment. For more details, please see here.

How are investment decisions made?

At the initial stages of an application, a member of our team decides whether it meets the basic eligibility criteria for investment and if your organisation is ready to take on repayable finance. If successful at this stage, we work with organisations through a process of due diligence and write an investment proposal, which we present to an Investment Committee comprised of fund stakeholders and independent professionals from the arts and cultural and social finance sectors. The Committee will assess the investment proposal and make a final decision as to whether or not your organisation has been successful in securing investment from us.