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Social Return On Investment

30th November 2011 in Current Affairs

‘It’s a Profit Jim, but not as we know it’

The paraphrasing of Mr. Spock’s immortal words is very applicable to a recent survey that has just been completed on the services provided by Foundation East. Since 2004 this not for profit organisation has been providing business loans of up to £50,000 for existing and start up businesses in the East of England, when they have been refused by a bank.

Although working to relevant Key Performance Indicators such as jobs saved, jobs created, number and financial total of loans, Katy Ford, Chief Executive, recognised the requirement for stringent measurement of the company’s Social Return on Investment (SROI).Consequently she secured the services of a member of staff from EEIDB Ltd (East of England Industrial Development Board) to research and prepare the report. The SROI framework was identified as being an excellent, robust and a tried and tested tool to use.

The bottom line for financial year April 2010 to March 2011 is:
For every £1 invested in Foundation East £3.79 of social and economic value is produced.

Key measurements included increased annual income, increased business skills, reduction of benefit claims, indirect and induced job creation, less recruitment costs through the safeguarding of jobs, increases in tax payments from economically active individuals, increased feelings of well being, less stress and anxiety, less visits to the GP and the avoidance of homelessness.

The conclusion is that Foundation East is not only providing financial solutions to excluded segments of the community, but having a much wider impact on individuals, communities and the UK tax payer. This is fantastic news, not only for the dedicated and hard working ten members of Foundation East staff who cover the six counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk but also for their existing and potential clients.

Richard Glinn, the company’s Marketing and Membership Manager said;
‘In the current economic situation, we should be shouting about this report. It’s extremely good news. The Chancellor is looking to providing support for small businesses. Foundation East has been providing that support for 7 years. The funds and the infrastructure are in place and our activities have now been shown to be well controlled and profitable to the community we support. Any company reporting a return on capital employed of £3.79 for every £1 invested would be very pleased with its performance. The desire for 2012 is to increase lending, membership investment and improve the social return value even more.
For more information on Foundation East contact Richard Glinn at richard.glinn@foundationeast.org or take a look at the website www.foundationeast.org which has information on loan application and recent success stories.