Published on 29 June 2018
About this good practice
Prior to 2000, Ireland’s growing social enterprise sector was not well understood and consequently struggled to obtain capital. Many Irish community organisations, particularly in disadvantaged areas, had no access to mainstream bank finance. Clann Credo was created as a response to these identified market failures. Established by a Roman Catholic congregation the organisation provides term, bridging and working capital loans to community based organisations for the development facilities and services throughout Ireland. These projects must demonstrate a capacity to meet the repayments on a loan in addition to the addressing a social need. No personal guarantees are required and early repayment is not penalised. Clann Credo is also involved in informing political institutions about the importance and growth potential of the sector, including sector financing (e.g. key role in lobbying the Irish Government to introduce a social finance initiative; member of the Irish and European Social Enterprise Task Force).
Finance is the key resource. Clann Credo has access to €100 million from the Social Finance Foundation and €10 million from religious charities. Staff resources and a understanding of the community/social enterprise sector and ability to manage risk.
Evidence of success
€100 million and 900 + community and voluntary organisations in Ireland have received finance from Clann Credo since 1996. Community based organisations in need of partial or total debt finance to create a facility or services to meet the needs of a socially disadvantaged group and unable to secure finance from mainstream banks can secure finance from Clann Credo. Ability to repayment the loan is considered from not only traded income but also fundraising.
Potential for learning or transfer
Social Finance provides social enterprises/community and voluntary organisations with finance to address social needs within communities. The Social Finance Foundation established in 2007 and financed by levies placed on Irish bank. The concept was proposed by Clann Credo and received government support. This initiative for funding the providers of Social Finance in Ireland has both learning and transfer potential.