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Asset Lock

A restriction enshrined within the constitution of an enterprise that restricts the capital return to its members unless they too are subject to an asset lock (e.g. a CIC; BenCom; Charity).

BenCom / Community Benefit Society

A society registered by the FCA as a community benefit company that exists for the benefit of its community rather that its members and which satisfies relevant criteria.

CDFIs / Community Development Finance Institutions

Organisations which provide loans to those who find it difficult to borrow from high street banks.

CITR / Community Investment Tax Relief

A tax relief for individuals and companies that invest in accredited CDFIs to support individuals and businesses in less advantaged areas.

CIC / Community Interest Company

A form of company designed for social enterprises which want to use their profits and assets for the public good and which is subject to an asset lock.


Funding a project from a large number of individuals, each often contributing small amounts of money and often made possible by online platforms. Crowdfunding may raise debt or equity or donations or other non-returnable contributions.

Enterprise foundation grants

Grants for charities or social enterprises who want to set up their social enterprise and become more financially resilient and self-reliant. Often, the purpose of these grants is to enable social enterprises to access repayable finance.

Environmental Impact

A positive effect on the environment.

HNWI / High Net Worth Individual

A high net worth individual i.e. one whose net assets or annual income are above a certain threshold.

Impact investment / finance

Investments made or finance provided with the aim of generating a positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Patient capital

Long term capital invested in an enterprise.

Profit for Purpose

A profit for purpose business uses some or all of its profits to achieve social, environmental or community benefit.

Profit with Purpose

An enterprise that has a social and/or environmental purpose embedded within it.

REIT / Real Estate Investment Trust

A REIT is a company that owns, operates or finances income producing real estate. REITs have special tax status which means that they do not pay corporation tax on the profits of their rental business. As such, they must meet certain qualifying criteria.

Responsible finance

Loans made on fair terms and where the lender also offers support and advice, often by credit unions or CDFIs.

Social enterprise

A social enterprise is an organisation that generates income through trading, a business which operates primarily to deliver a beneficial impact in a community and reinvests all or some of its profits back to support that objective. Can include charities and profit for purpose businesses – and anything in between.

Social Entrepreneur

An individual who establishes or supports a business in delivering a social, cultural or environmental impact as well as a financial return.

Social Finance

Financial investment to deliver both social or environmental impact and financial return. Can be investment by way of equity or debt.

SIB / Social impact bond

SIBs bring together the public, private and voluntary sectors to solve social problems by focusing on successfully delivering positive outcomes. The social investors pay for the project at the outset but then receive payments based on the outcome of the project. Not technically a bond! More a variation on the “payment by results” model.

Social Impact

A positive effect on the welfare and wellbeing of the community.

SITR / Social Investment Tax Relief

SITR is the government’s tax relief initiative to encourage investment by individuals in certain types of social enterprises.

Socially responsible

Acting for the benefit of society within an ethical framework.

Soft loan

An unsecured loan, made on terms more favourable to the borrower than could be obtained from an institutional lender.