Co-op finance institution shortlisted for national award

Co-operative and Community Finance, the Bristol based lender for ethical enterprises, has reached the shortlist for a new national awards scheme that recognises and rewards excellence in community finance.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, in partnership with the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA), recognise excellence in community development finance institutions (CDFIs) that provide finance which changes lives and transforms neighbourhoods.  Total prize money of £65,000 will be presented to the winners at the prestigious awards ceremony on 12 February 2014 in Bristol.

Co-operative & Community Finance, set up in 1973, is the oldest CDFI in the UK and one of the few that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the conduct of investment business.  It has been shortlisted for the Award in the Innovation category for the design and development of a new fund to support communities wanting to raise investment by a community share issue.  The Co-operative Community Shares Fund was launched last year with initial finance from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and backing from the Co-operative Loan Fund.  The new fund has received applications from community-owned ventures of all kinds including renewable energy projects, community-owned pubs, shops and halls, and supporter-owned sports clubs.

Ian Rothwell, C&CF's Development Manager, said: "We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this new award, especially in the year of our 40th anniversary.  However, we can't take all the credit.  We developed the Community Shares Fund by working with other organisations and individuals who are committed to community ownership and control."

Ben Hughes, Chief Executive of the CDFA, said: "We were overwhelmed with outstanding applications from CDFIs that are using innovative and creative ways to provide finance to their local communities. The awards are an exciting opportunity to showcase the individuals and organisations that are changing lives, boosting economies and energising neighbourhoods. The judges were impressed with the inspiring work of Co-operative & Community Finance. Their achievements deserve to be celebrated at the final of the first UK Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards."

Press release