SOCIAL ENTERPRISE NEWS
Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) is an innovative, new, publicly
owned bank that aims to invest in businesses and enable our economy to thrive.
The bank missions are aligned to Scottish Government policy
priorities. Specifically, investing in organisations that contribute towards a net-zero
carbon economy, place-making and regeneration and adapting to demographic
The bank has been designed to provide patient finance to
businesses of all kinds and to build new markets. The focus will be on
low-volume, high-value investments. However, it’s not been designed to replace
other loan finance, particularly that of low value.
Enterprise Scotland has been working in close partnership with SCVO, the body that represents charities and
voluntary groups, for over a year to shape the new bank.
Our aim has been to ensure that the new SNIB is open and
inclusive to social enterprises and charities. We wanted to guarantee that the
Bank could potentially lend to social enterprises and, in particular, to future
proof any new social impact delivery models in a fast-changing landscape.
This work included a themed event at our Social
Enterprise Cross-Party Group in The Scottish Parliament. At the meeting we heard
from a SNIB official, SCVO and Common Weal, the think tank that produced the Banking
for the Common Good report on what a national investment bank might look
There was originally a perceived narrow focus by the SNIB on
the private sector, for some time before our joint work began. However, during
discussions with bank officials the third sector was frequently mentioned.
During the past few months we’ve had numerous meetings with
these officials, at various levels and within different teams. This was to
ensure that all of the legislation, missions, operating plan and culture of the
bank would serve third sector customers as well as the private sector.
We were reassured that the social enterprise community would
very much be included going forward. This was both in informing the ethical
status and structure of the bank, as well as social enterprises being potential
SNIB legislation was passed unanimously in parliament and was amended to
guarantee potential investment in social enterprises and charities. The final
result was very much a clarification of the vital role of social enterprises to
The new bank will sit alongside social enterprise, fair
trade, co-operatives, Participatory Budgeting, the real living wage, credit
unions, basic income and many more economic innovations. Though different they
all share similar aims of a thriving, inclusive economy.
Only with different sectors and economic movements coming
together can the vision of a socially just economy be achieved. As we move towards
this better economic model and seek to build a wellbeing economy and community
wealth, social enterprises must take the lead.
Though the status of the new bank has now passed into law we
need to ensure that the legislation translates into reality on the ground. This
very much includes continuing to help social enterprises get their voices heard
in shaping the investment activities of the bank and guaranteeing that it stays
We look forward to the new SNIB helping drive our economy
forward, in partnership with all of Scotland’s innovative and ethical
Duncan Thorp, Social Enterprise Scotland
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