Put simply, the Social Enterprise Fund is a loan fund. We lend money to social enterprises that want to make things better in the community, and in the world.
SEF was established in 2008 through a unique collaboration between the Edmonton Community Foundation and the City of Edmonton. Other contributors to the fund have included the United Way, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and several private contributors.
Social enterprises, like any small businesses, require access to capital in order to grow. Given their sometimes unusual structure or business sphere, they can have challenges finding the financing they need to grow through traditional sources. SEF acts as a patient lender working with these enterprises to meet their financing needs, whether through a big loan or small. Loans are repayable with interest – and in this way, the funds can go on to assist other social entrepreneurs.
SEF also plays a role in the larger community interested in the concept of social enterprise. We work with partners across the province and the country to expand the practical understanding of how social enterprise works ‘on the ground’, as well as contributing to the training opportunities available to social entrepreneurs.