How to apply

Selection Criteria

Social Business Trust aims to invest in about five social enterprises each year. To find the most appropriate organisations, we have firm selection criteria and rigorous due diligence. Most applications will be rejected. To ensure we do not waste each others’ time with applications that are never likely to be accepted, we have set out the following criteria that must be passed before anyone should consider applying:

  1. The organisation should be registered as a charity or demonstrate a clear charitable purpose, such as a community interest company (CIC).
  2. The organisation must have annual revenue in excess of £1.5 million, including a significant proportion of earned income (income that is not grants or donations).
  3. The organisation needs to have at least one year’s audited trading accounts.
  4. A minimum of 1,000 people per year must benefit, directly or indirectly, from the organisation’s goods or services.
  5. The organisation needs to be based predominately in the UK.
  6. We do not work with organisations with strong political or religious links.

If you fulfil the above criteria, we will then want to look at a range of other considerations: above all, we are seeking to work with a management which is determined to pursue substantial growth in order to further their organisation’s social impact. We will also look carefully at the strength and depth of the organisation’s management team, who are expected to command a balance of skills, including strong financial control and appropriate operational expertise. It is also essential that applicants are looking to work in partnership with us and will be receptive to the advice and guidance that our partners’ teams can contribute to growing the business.


The commitment of these investors is to contribute £15m of cash and in-kind support over a 3-5 year period.

  • Bain & Company
  • British Gas
  • Clifford Chance
  • Credit Suisse
  • EY
  • Permira
  • Thomson Reuters