Business support

Through Shared Interest Foundation, we build the resilience of businesses that are aiming to have both a financial and social impact in their community. Our projects include support for fair trade networks and the businesses they represent. We are also increasingly focused on improving access to finance for those businesses by providing financial training and mentoring programmes.

This year, we provided support through Shared Interest Foundation to 130 businesses in 8 countries.

Since April 2013, we have been running an Access to Finance project in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Ivory Coast, with funding from Comic Relief. This has helped to improve business' understanding of key financial concepts and how to apply them, as well as assist in applying for loan finance.

SWIFT is our partner in Swaziland - a fair trade business support network made up of a core of four staff and a Board of experienced fair trade business leaders from the local community. Together they support a network of 50 small businesses. We delivered our 3½ year Comic Relief project supporting the Swaziland craft industry with SWIFT. This project concluded in April 2014.

We made good progress in identifying how and what we will measure to test the impact of Shared Interest Foundation, through the development of a Theory of Change. This is a process requiring reflection on how the activities you deliver lead to change, what external factors affect this, and on what assumptions you are basing your activities. We undertook a process of consultations with project partners, businesses and beneficiaries in Swaziland, Malawi and Kenya, as well as Shared Interest staff; a review of external learning reports; an analysis of project evaluations and dialogue with trustees.

You can read more about Business Support in Social Accounts.