Sporting Assets MD, Pete Maguire, explains how the £3m fund aims to bring simple, repayable social investment into the community sports market.
Mention social investment to many sports sector bodies and the first thought is of social impact bonds. These have been discussed at length in sport, but have yet to become mainstream.
By offering something we can all understand - simple unsecured repayable loans of between £50,000 and £150,000 - the Sporting Capital fund is trying to change the perception of social investment in sport.
The fund is looking to support around 30 organisations by June 2020 to develop sustainable community sports businesses through support and investment.
In doing this, we hope to open the eyes of the social investment sector to the validity of sport as a sector to invest into. Likewise, we aim to show the value of social investment to the sports sector, which is lagging behind many other comparable sectors.
Sport has been underserved by the social investment market. We believe it is accessing less than £5m in a market that, according to the sectors wholesale funder, Big Society Capital, stands at around £3bn.
Partly this is the fault of the social investment market itself, which has been slow to understand the impact sport and physical activity can have beyond mere participation.
The sports sector itself has also been slow to recognise the value of, and engage with, social investment.
We are starting to see changes, however.
Greater impact measurement within the sports sector, and more honest reporting of successful impact, and failures, will help. As will the sharing of examples of sports organisations successfully accessing and benefiting from social investment.
Both of these ideas were discussed at the recent Fit for the Future Convention hosted by the Alliance. StreetLeague talked honestly about reporting both their success and failures in their impact report and we explained how we are supporting the LTA nationally and locally to understand and engage with social investment.
The recent Sporting Future update also touched on alternative investment in sport.
So, with a new, easy to understand fund focused on community sport, a sector starting to engage, and support from Government, maybe 2018 will be the year sport embraces social investment.
We will provide updates on the progress of the Sporting Capital fund throughout 2018.
Sporting Capital has been formed through a pioneering partnership between Sporting Assets, the leading sport for social impact advisor and the Access Foundation and is funded through the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.