Purple Shoots tackles poverty and unemployment by encouraging entrepreneurship, economic independence and self-reliance.
They do this through:
- Microfinance, small ethical loans to people who struggle to raise finance from anywhere else, to enable them to start or run a small business. 96% of their borrowers are on benefits when they receive a loan
- Self-reliant groups, small collectives where people can share and learn skills, save and test entrepreneurial ideas, and/or take an active role in their communities to bring about change and improvement.
Purple Shoots wants to see everyone with access to fair and affordable finance so that those who have been left behind or excluded from the economy can have an opportunity to build their own financial resilience and create long-term, sustainable change for themselves.
They believe everyone who wants should have an opportunity to contribute to the economy and society regardless of what may have previously held them back, and that lending people funds to build their own pathway out of financial difficulties through self-employment is much more effective and dignified than “programmes” or handouts.
Typical borrowers are people who have been out of the workplace usually for some time and usually because of illness, disability, a life crisis such as a relationship breakdown or a bereavement, a caring responsibility or a mental health issue.
With histories of worklessness, with few or no assets, a background of illness or disability, or an adverse credit record, many of their borrowers will find it very difficult to raise funding from mainstream sources to get businesses off the ground, and for many of them self-employment is their best option as it enables them to organize their work around their limitations – whether those are related to health or disability or a caring responsibility.
Funding from Postcode Innovation Trust, thanks to players of People's Postcode lottery, was awarded to enable them to scale up their operations to Yorkshire and the South-West of England.
Find out more about Purple Shoots via their website: https://purpleshoots.org/