Social enterprises are increasing in number, showing a growing appetite for business with a conscience. According to research by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), in partnership with Nationwide and the Co-op Group, (Source: The Hidden Revolution, September 2018), there are over 100,000 social enterprises contributing £60bn to the UK economy and employing two million people. SEUK also revealed, as part of its biennial State of Social Enterprise Survey in 2017, that UK social enterprises are outperforming mainstream businesses in growth and innovation. They are also at the forefront on diversity with 41% led by women.

Shared Interest is approaching its 30th anniversary next year, a social lender that is a pioneer of the currently popular crowdfunding model, whereby a large number of people pool their funds for a good cause. Based in the UK, Shared Interest uses investment from over 11,500 individuals to finance farming and handcraft organisations in some of the world’s most
disadvantaged communities.

We know that any successful business today requires brand loyalty from its customers, which is achieved through trust and transparency. As a community benefit organisation, that acts cooperatively, Shared Interest’s investors are members with an equal voice and vote. With stakeholders holding such an integral part in the organisation, there is an even greater need for open and honest communication relating to impact, processes and business values.

Shared Interest Head of Membership and Engagement, Kerrey Baker said: “Our members remain loyal, each holding their Share Account for an average of 14 years. We are extremely grateful for the support of investors, donors, volunteers and partners. All of these stakeholders play vital roles and make invaluable contributions towards improving the livelihoods of people in over 60 countries.

“To ensure we are accountable to our members in terms of impact, monitoring and evaluation is embedded in our work. Each year, we produce a set of social accounts, which gives a transparent description of Shared Interest operations and provides a detailed review of our impact, as well as an insight into the members, staff and volunteers that made it possible.

“Last year, we made payments totaling £62.9m to 363 organisations. Our work is not just about providing finance on fair terms. The farmers and handcraft makers we work with say that we have helped transform their communities, with almost half a million people benefiting from our finance.”

If you would like to read more about Shared Interest’s impact, you can find their annual Impact Report on their website, or contact their membership team on 0191 233 9100.

Kerrey Baker – Shared Interest Head of Membership and Engagement