Resonance Launches “Launchpad Loans” – Helping Smaller Social Enterprises Grow Confidently

Resonance has made its first two investments using its new Launchpad Loan product from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund South West (H&WCF), an impact investment fund established with investment from the Access Foundation’s Growth Fund with funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital, and the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN).  

The H&WCF seeks to make social impact investment more accessible and relevant to smaller social enterprises looking to expand their operations and impact, with a particular focus on organisations in the South West linked to the theme of health and wellbeing.

The Launchpad Loan product has been designed to give social enterprises the confidence to grow, through external investment, without the worry of short term repayment of investment capital on a large investment amount. In a Launchpad Loan the Fund initially invests £10,000 in the social enterprise, allowing them to make a step change in their growth, whilst only having to repay the interest on the investment in the first twelve months. During this period Resonance works with the social enterprise to support them in their growth plans, hopefully leading to greater investment in the future. Launchpad Loans help social enterprises that require a significant injection of capital, but need to take this in “bite sized chunks”, as they build-up confidence in using social impact investment to grow their impact and get used to servicing and reporting on investment.

The first recipients of Launchpad are innovative South West social enterprises Dangerous Dads and Danu Blue CIC, which runs Hands-On Horticulture, a social and therapeutic horticulture project in East Devon.  Both enterprises need investment to scale up and respond to the increasing demand for their services that they are experiencing.

Martin Paine (Managing Director of Danu Blue and Hands-On Horticulture) said “This investment from H&WCF is timely, enabling us to invest in our facilities and infrastructure.  In addition, this recognition of our potential allows us to plan with greater confidence to make a step change, potentially trebling the number of people we support. And it will allow us to continue this growth journey without taking on significant debt at this stage of our development.”

Ian Blackwell (Director at The Dangerous Dads Network CIC) said “These funds will allow us to invest in more resource, which is crucial if we are to help more families and extend our work across the region. Like many social enterprises, we were nervous about seeking investment and the debt associated with it, however the Launchpad feature of the Fund means that we can take our first step on the investment ladder, whilst only having to repay an affordable rate of interest in the first year. We believe this is a wise move as it will allow us to grow our business during 2018.”

Tom Crook of Resonance commented “From speaking with over 200 social enterprises across the South West, we often found many were new to social investment and that, whilst all were looking to grow, many lacked the confidence to take on investment to achieve this growth, as they were concerned that they would overcommit themselves to initial interest and capital repayments.  We developed the Launchpad Loan feature of the Fund to help mitigate these concerns, and also give social enterprises their first exposure to investment capital. We are excited to be able to support both DanuBlue and Dangerous Dads, and are working with a number of other social enterprises which are considering taking advantage of Launchpad Loans.  Our main aim for this product is to allow enterprises to make a step change in their social impact and to see this as a stepping stone on their journey to sustainability.”

Stuart Monk, Director of Innovation at the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) said “It’s great to see the Launchpad Loan initiative get off the ground with these first two investments. This is yet another way the Fund is working with social enterprises in the South West to enhance health and wellbeing. It’s even more exciting to see the way the Fund is adapting to the needs of this kind of small, but high potential social enterprise by innovating in the way that finance is provided. This was why the SW AHSN invested into the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund.”