70 enquiries later am I regretting it? No. It's been a mixture of bursting bubbles, exploring angles and even raising expectations (in a good way). One thing that's surprised me is the ambition of the organisations and the level of creativity on offer.
The IRCF is a new approach where 'providers' of development support are identified and approved by SIB and they become the first port of call for organisations wanting to apply. We talk to the bidders and get to know them, and, if we like what we see, we develop and submit an application on their behalf. Eventually there will be about 20 registered providers offering support.
This process has raised a number of challenges, including a lots of early stage organisations that just aren't suitable for a fund targeted at 'high growth' enterprises. You have to show that you have the potential, within 18 months, to take on and manage £500k of loan finance or win a contract (or contracts) with a value of over £1 million.
The aim is to create a market for investment from Big Society Capital (previously Big Society Bank). It's not enough to demonstrate an ambition to build capacity. You need to make a case that there's a tangible business opportunity that you're aiming for. So tell us about the contract you're aiming to tender for or the business proposition that could stand the ½ million loan. If you can't do that we're unable to support you.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org.