One of the big challenges for social enterprise is growth. Partly, this is because they face limited access to risk and growth capital, and to highly specialist technical knowledge, but it is also a reflection of the fact that as social enterprises grow, they often face difficulties in balancing conflicting pressures. Much has been written about social returns on investment, triple bottom lines and ‘blended value’ but how to how to ensure that the interests of investors remains subordinate to the social mission remains a critical question for social enterprise.
Increasingly, there are a range of financial instruments and packages which take into account the particular needs of social enterprises and businesses with social goals. A number of these like public share issues, and funding through co-operative subscription and crowd funding are discussed in section 4 on Sustaining. Here we look at other emerging channels of social finance.