“Impact in the Bearpit”
Name of Enterprise: Bearpit Bristol CIC
Legal Structure: Community Interest Company
Date of Deal: 23 December 2016
Transaction Size: £112,000
Type of Finance/Investment: Loan from the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund
Expected Return: 7-8%+
Impact: Poverty & Disadvantage
What’s the investment for?
To support three social enterprises to come together as one organization, aligning their operations through creating a central and shared commercial kitchen and developing additional complementary services like delivery, longer opening hours and catering to drive additional turnover to secure their sustainability and growth for years to come.
What’s the Impact?
To reduce and suppress antisocial and criminal activity by creating a safe and welcoming destination through increased trading activities; build a community based on diversity and inclusivity through creating and supporting community events; provide a training programme that equips people from disadvantaged backgrounds with skills and experience to better succeed in the working world.
Bearpit Bristol CIC operates with two arms: The commercial arm is made up of three food and beverage businesses that provide an attraction to the space, a presence to make the space feel safer and an income to carry out the objectives of their community arm; the community arm is focused on engaging with the community via a series of markets, events and workshops to enhance the space, forge ties with organizations across the city and inspire the community to care about the space.
More About Bearpit Bristol & the Deal
This is the fifth investment from the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund, which uses the tax system to incentivize social impact investing. Social Enterprise Bearpit Bristol CIC is focused on regenerating the St James Roundabout area using food retail and targeted community events and with the three organizations coming together as one community interest company they will strengthen their presence and commitment to the local community which will in turn open up the space to create a community hub.
The Resonance Bristol SITR Fund, which was set up to support social enterprises that work to intentionally dismantle poverty in Bristol and the surrounding areas, invested in the Bearpit Bristol CIC, a mere four months from meeting the directors for the first time. The investment team was impressed by the management team in place, their clearly defined impact and the structure they chose to move forward – a community interest company – which demonstrates that the business is there for the community.
The directors of Bearpit Bristol CIC work together as a peer group, which is a rather refreshing dynamic, bringing together a mix of skills and interests. They have started their journey in this space in collaboration with the Bearpit Improvement Group, which was set up to transform the St James Roundabout area. Bearpit Bristol CIC is now building on the successes to date by taking on this direct investment to ensure sustainability in the years to come.
Resonance Investment Manager Katalin Juhasz, who worked closely with Bearpit Bristol CIC to make this investment, said of the deal: “This is a great example for social enterprises that need investment to grow their impact. This kind of capital is an effective and appropriate source of investment for growing social enterprises like the Bearpit Bristol CIC, which is a revenue generating business with a clear social focus, taking on repayable capital on reasonable terms.
“Our investment committee was particularly impressed with the impact of this enterprise – a growing food service business that at the same time is deeply rooted in the community, with an intentional and driven commitment to dismantling poverty. The directors have experience in running and growing a business and so the committee felt confident that the investment would generate both the social and financial returns that are necessary to make the business prosper and have a positive impact on the local area.”