One of the UK’s leading social enterprises has received a ‘good practice’ mark for its financial activities.
Shared Interest has more than 9,000 members who have invested over £33m. This money is then loaned to fair trade buyers and producers in the developing world to help them improve their businesses and livelihoods.
Now the investment scheme has been recognised with a Community Shares Standard Mark, launched in July by the government-backed Community Shares Unit (CSU).
Patricia Alexander, managing director at Shared Interest, said: “With share accounts varying from £100 to £100,000, we maintain that shareholders have an equal voice and vote regardless of account size.
“Our investors are the lifeblood of Shared Interest and achieving this standard is recognition of their continued loyalty and commitment.”
As part of Good Money Week (18-24 October 2015), the CSU also launched a new online tool called Step-by-Step to help emerging groups meet good practice standards. The tool helps groups from the initial idea to the launch of their share offer, and even provides a report detailing key areas to focus on for that specific business.
Simon Borkin, CSU programme lead, spoke more about getting involved in Community Shares.
“Organisations are already receiving vital support from key front-line providers including Plunkett Foundation, Supporters Direct and Community Energy England,” he said.
This [Step-by-Step] tool clearly guides groups through the process of financing an enterprise through community shares, allowing social ventures to raise good money with confidence.”
Community Shares are growing fast in the UK. This year 80 share offers are expected to raise more than £40m. This type of investment is often used to finance businesses like local shops, pubs, community buildings and renewable energy.
- You can read more about ethical finance, and what that term means, by clicking here.