Third Sector Growth Fund

A new £30 million fund is being established to support small businesses within the third sector, helping them to grow as Scotland recovers from the impacts of coronavirus.

The fund will be designed to respond to a need for third sector organisations to access loans to help grow and explore new forms of social investment and finance. It will also help support the sector to meet the challenge of the pandemic and to become more sustainable in the long-term.


The Third Sector Growth Fund will build on more than £1 billion which has been invested in communities since the start of the pandemic, which includes a recent commitment to a further £14 million to allow the Communities and Third Sector Recovery Programme to continue to the end of June.

The Third Sector Growth Fund will have three elements:

  • The Social Catalyst fund, which totals £15 million, will help growing organisations which are not able to access finance through standard loans, offering investment which can be repaid based on turnover, rather than growing interest rates. This would suit small businesses and start-ups whose income is variable.
  • The Circular Economy Fund will support activity which builds on sustainability of social enterprises and enables growth through investment loans. Together with The Long Term Third Sector Finance Fund which will offer loans for social enterprises and Third Sector organisations over a period of 18-24 months. a total of £10 million will be available.
  • The Social Impact Venture Portfolio will offer investments of equity into mission-driven businesses, encouraging organisations to adopt a social enterprise model. This is worth £5 million.

The delivery partners are The Social Impact Venture Portfolio and Social Investment Scotland a social enterprise and a charity offering loan funding and business support across the sector to make a positive impact on lives, society and the environment.

Social Investment Scotland will manage The Circular Economy Social Enterprise Fund and Long Term Third Sector Finance Fund.

The Impact Investment Partnership Scotland (IIPS), an entity owned equally by Firstport and Social Enterprise Scotland (SES), will manage the Social Catalyst Fund.

Access to the funds will be by application. Further details of the funds and how to apply will be published on the partner organisations websites later this Spring.