Social Enterprise Finance Australia comes of age with impact!

Three years after start-up Social Enterprise Finance Australia (Sefa) is hitting its stride. Ben Gales, Sefa’s CEO said, ‘We are now having great impact helping our borrowers to make a difference in the social, environmental and Indigenous communities in which they operate (see short video).

Sefa has just funded three new loans, supporting: Indigenous employment and training in Cairns, crisis accommodation in Caboolture, and mental health assistance on the NSW Central Coast. (MiHaven Property FundKing St Haven, and Central Coast ARAFMI).

‘Only 12 months ago we had two loans on our book, now we have eight, with loans and commitments worth $7½ million. We are also looking at a pipeline of lending opportunities worth $15million’, Gales said.

Sefa was established to provide loans to build and strengthen social enterprise. ‘Our focus is social impact, and we support social entrepreneurs and community enterprises that use the power of business to drive social, cultural and environmental change.’

‘We add a social dimension to finance and tailor solutions to match the unique circumstances of our borrowers, many of whom would find it difficult to obtain a loan from mainstream financial institutions’, Gales added. The organisation lends to a wide range of enterprises including affordable housing, disability services, youth outreach, renewable energy, employment assistance, arts and culture.

Sefa was founded in August 2011 with a $10 million grant from the Commonwealth Social Enterprise Development Investment Fund (SEDIF) matched with $10 million raised from private investors. Our founding partners include NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Community Sector Banking and Triodos Bank of the Netherlands.

‘Sefa’s government funding has been especially important as we build a track record of lending, but we continue to raise funds via debt and equity from private investors offering a competitive return while supporting social objectives.’

‘Being a social enterprise ourselves, Sefa understands what it takes to generate positive social impacts with commercial returns’, Gales said.

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