Our newly released evaluation report concludes this action-based learning project which provided start-up business loans to social housing tenants.
The Start Up Micro-enterprise project intended to test new models of Community Finance that support housing residents become community entrepreneurs. As a HACT and Responsible Finance (previously known as Community Development Finance Association, CDFA) collaboration, it was also an action- learning based project for housing associations.
The project brought together resources from interested housing associations, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), organisations with experience delivering affordable and responsible lending to lower income groups and social investors to create a ring-fenced loan fund, with the aim of supporting the start-up of new resident-led businesses.
The rationale of the project was that self-employment and entrepreneurship are routes for which social housing residents are generally not encouraged to pursue, but that there may be an appetite. However, social housing residents are unlikely to have the capital themselves to launch a business or access capital through the traditional methods such as high-street bank loans.
As such, many social housing residents are effectively barred from self-employment, regardless of whether they have the motivation and a viable business idea. The project aimed to tackle this by designing a loan that could be made available to social housing residents, enabling them to start their own businesses.