Social lenders - such as community development finance institutions (CDFIs) and credit unions - are generally non-profit making organisations that can offer loans and credit.
CDFIs lend to businesses, social enterprises, charities and individuals who intend to use the money to help and develop their local community. They are aimed at people and organisations that struggle to borrow from traditional sources such as banks and building societies.
Many CDFIs only lend in certain geographical areas and some of them don't lend to businesses. They tend to focus on disadvantaged areas and disadvantaged groups.
The Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) provide further guidance on CDFIs.
Co-operative and community finance
Employee-owned or community businesses can apply to borrow money from the Industrial Common Ownership Finance Fund. Eligible organisations include social enterprises, co-operatives, development trusts and charitable businesses.
Find out about loan eligibility with Co-operative and Community Finance (Coop).
Credit unions offer loans that are accessible and affordable. They are owned and controlled by their members. This means they have to make decisions that are in members' best interests, rather than to make money for external shareholders. There are also no penalties for repaying loans early.
Find out about credit union loans with the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL).
The Prince's Trust
If you are aged between 18 and 30, you may be able to get financial support from the Prince's Trust. The charity's Enterprise Programme provides loans, grants and advice so that disadvantaged young people can start their own businesses. To be eligible, you need to be unemployed and unable to raise all the finance you need from other sources. Read about the Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme.
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