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Social business

Helping businesses to grow their positive impact

With specialist expert support, access to finance, practical business mentoring and project delivery, we can offer social businesses the support they need to grow their impact.

We’re ready to back you and your social business

Our aim is to support social businesses in achieving their mission to grow their impact – from local enterprises to larger social ventures and charities. 

Dedicated social business managers and funding

Our specialist social business managers understand the unique needs of businesses like yours and will use their experience and expertise to help you achieve your ambitions. And because we know it can be difficult to access finance, we now have loan assessments specifically designed for social businesses, offering even more flexibility1.

Access to business networks and mentoring

Our social business mentoring scheme can give your business valuable support. With dedicated mentors who can share their expertise, we can help your business become sustainable and grow. We can also give you specialist support with franchising, international trade and digital engagement strategies.

We’re delighted to partner with Ethical Angel, which offers free access to professional skills and project delivery for causes.

Barclays Eagle Labs

We’re proud to support this worthy sector through our Eagle Labs. Our sector expertise, thought leadership and market-leading events, together with our position at the forefront of embracing new technologies, mean we’re able to support social businesses with all their banking needs and more.

We’re building a growing community of partners, corporates and start-ups through our established networks, to help charities and social businesses harness technology that will innovate, deliver services and meet the increased demands of people who rely on them.

Everyday banking that helps to save you time

Spend less time managing money and more time focused on your business with our safe, secure Online Banking and our award-winning app2.

Manage payments, check your statements and much more, 24 hours a day – whether you’re at home, in the office or on the move.

Easy payment and contactless donation options for your customers and supporters

We’re offering social businesses the opportunity to try a Barclaycard card reader for receiving donations and payments1. It could help your organisation by removing upfront costs – you’ll only be charged a small percentage of the money taken through the card reader. Find out how to try a Barclaycard card reader by calling 0808 296 799443.

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  • About social business

    About social business

    Social businesses are created to make a positive impact against some of the key social and environmental challenges the world faces – best outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They represent a dynamic, ethical and more sustainable way of doing business, with impact driving their business models. These types of businesses reinvest their profits back into creating the impact they’re striving to achieve. A rapidly-growing sector, social businesses have diverse business models that range from purely charitable to strongly commercial, from local enterprises to scale-ups with UK-wide and often global potential. We’re proud to support these businesses.

    We also worked with The Scale Up Institute to launch this report on the rise of social ventures.

    The impact of social enterprise

    See how the rise of social businesses in the UK compares with standard small-to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

    Scale

    • 100,000 social enterprises
    • £60 billion to the economy (3% GDP)
    • 2 million people employed (as many as creative industries)

    Source: The Hidden Revolution [PDF, 4.5MB]

    Growth

    • Outstripping SMEs for growth in turnover (44% compared with 34%)*
    • 47% of all social businesses are under six years old (compared with 14% of SMEs)*

    Innovation

    • 61% developed a new product or service in the last year (compared with 36% of SMEs)*

    Jobs

    • 49% have created jobs in the last 12 months (compared with 22% of SMEs)*
    • 51% actively employ disadvantaged people from the labour market*

    Communities

    • 24% are based in the 20% most deprived areas (compared with 12% of SMEs)*

    Diversity

    • 30% of social enterprises have directors who are black, Asian and minority ethnic*
    • 47% of social enterprises are led by women, 14% are led by people who are Black, Asian and minority ethnic*
    • 93% of leadership teams have at least one woman, 4% have at least one person who identifies as non-binary gender*
    • 55% have a director with a disability, 11% are led by a person with a disability*

    *Source: State of Social Enterprise Report, 13 October 2021

  • Our partners

    Our partners

    To improve our understanding of social businesses and how we can best help them, we work with a number of partners in the sector.

    Social Enterprise UK

    Social Enterprise UK is the biggest network of social enterprises in the UK. Through partnerships, campaigning, research and networking, they support social businesses at a local and national level. We’re proud to support the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, and the sector research SEUK State of Social Enterprise Report 2021.

    Buy Social Corporate Challenge

    A simple initiative with a bold ambition: a group of high-profile businesses aims to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises through their procurement.

    This challenge allows large businesses to develop a more strategic corporate social responsibility, aligned to their core operations. It gives companies the ability to positively transform lives using existing business spend.

    Led by Social Enterprise UK, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the initiative was launched in Downing Street in April 2016. A package of support was created to help businesses understand their existing spend with social enterprises and maximise the opportunity to increase it. Read the Year 4 Corporate Buy Social Impact Report.

    Supplier diversity and inclusion

    We aim to do business with the most innovative, responsible, cost-competitive diverse suppliers – wherever in the world we do business. You can find out more about our supplier diversity here

    Social Enterprise Scotland 

    An independent, Scottish, membership-led organisation, Social Enterprise Scotland offers its members advice and information, and works with other organisations, local authorities and the government to champion and promote social business. 

    Social Business Development

    We run mentoring and project-based work across our Eagle Labs and remotely, both virtually and through webinars, to help social businesses grow their impact.

    Ethical Angel

    We’re proud of our partnership with Ethical Angel, who has the technology to match our colleagues’ skills to causes they both care about and are best placed to impact. The engagement takes place remotely, providing the help your social business or charity needs to navigate these challenging times. If you have a project with specific outcomes which would help your social business or charity to pivot or scale in order to navigate these current challenges, please visit Ethical Angel to see what support you can get and register for this free service. 

  • Success stories

    Success stories

    Firstport

    Firstport, a social enterprise in itself, helps social entrepreneurs realise their ideas and turn them into sustainable businesses. It acted as a key grant distributor during lockdown to help third-sector organisations and social enterprises. It now also manages the government-backed Catalyst Fund to support high-growth, scalable social enterprises.

    Having heard how passionate we are about helping social businesses and of the pivotal role played by Eagle Labs, the team at Firstport were keen to get us on board to support with their ‘LaunchMe’ programme. This is a nine-month initiative to develop a social entrepreneur’s business, from start-up and early stage to scale-up and investment readiness. We now regularly host the programme’s launch, help participants, and support judging to award participants a place on its annual intake of cohorts. Firstport also helps raise awareness among social enterprises of our scale-up programmes, Annual Entrepreneur Awards and other support we offer.

    They decided to switch their banking to us, as their previous banking arrangements couldn’t meet all their growing needs during this process. We were able to provide accelerated access to online systems, ensuring the Third Sector Resilience Fund could be delivered promptly to third-sector organisations during lockdown.

    EPIC Risk Management 

    EPIC Risk Management is a leading gambling-harm minimisation consultancy. Learning from the experiences of those they help, they take the problem out of gambling through education, raising awareness, consultancy and accredited training to the highest-risk sectors, including financial services, education, criminal justice, elite sport and the gambling industry itself.

    Through our Scale-Up UK Programme, we worked with EPIC’s founder from its inception, providing guidance on everything from cashflow forecasting to social media marketing.

    The programme and our mentoring helped EPIC to restructure, taking the business from £385k revenue and £85k profit in 2018-2019, to £3m revenue and £1.3m profit in 2020-2021. EPIC has now also expanded its reach to 23 countries, including a growing presence in the fast-growing US market. In 2021, EPIC launched the EPIC Restart Foundation, which provides the tools to lead a positive life post-treatment for those who’ve suffered gambling-related harm.

  • Mentoring scheme

    Mentoring scheme

    Through our social business mentoring scheme, hundreds of colleagues from across the UK have shared their expertise in finance, marketing, planning and strategy, to help social businesses become sustainable and grow. 

    Working closely with a large number of social businesses over the years has helped us understand the unique issues they face in starting out and scaling up, and to create a service that can better meet their specific needs.

    If you’re running a social business and would like to apply for one of our mentoring sessions, please email socialbusiness@barclays.com.

Get started

Give us a call4 on 0800 515 462 to talk about your banking needs and start an application.

Once you’re set up, our social business managers across the UK will be on hand to help you.

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