Social investment funds

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As part of the Social Business Initiative the Internal Market DG of the European Commission has launched a consultation on social investment funds. It closes on 14 Sep 11.

Give your views on supporting social business with private investment

"On 13 July 2011, the Commission services are launching a consultation on possible European measures to support social businesses through private investment funds. Social businesses combine a social, ethical or environmental mission with the entrepreneurial flair and innovation of a business perspective. They can face some specific challenges in getting investments. To address these challenges, the Commission outlined in the Single Market Act (see IP/11/469) that it would explore how private investment funds can help, so that investors and social businesses better reap the benefits of the single market. The consultation document outlines different options, including better transparency, and seeks the views of all stakeholders on whether existing European investment fund rules work well for social businesses and those wanting to invest in them. The results will be used to identify European measures, so that proposals can be made by the Commission by the end of 2011. The consultation closes on 14 September."

This consultation is a good opportunity to raise issues of concern to social enterprises, especially:

  • 2.1 definition of social business & 4.3 common EU label
    • currently like the UK government definition of social enterprise – should the profit distribution criterion be relaxed?
  • 2.2 the problems social enterprises face in raising capital
    • Community Shares / investment through industrial & provident societies
    • discrimination against collective start-ups by some microfinance funds, e.g. Mikrokreditfonds Deutschland
    • problems of women, ethnic minorities etc. in raising capital
  • 3.5 investor participation
    • Co-op Bank ethical policy

The consultation document is available at