THIRD SECTOR IN BRIEF

SKS Microfinance, a finance company catering for the poor, has raised $75 million from a group of investors led by Boston-based Indian investment firm Sandstone Capital. The firm says it is the world's largest private equity investment in microfinance. SKS provides micro-insurance products and micro-loans to poor households across 50,000 villages and urban slum areas in India.

A new report from Venturesome, a mezzanine finance provider to socially orientated organisations, has highlighted a lack of clarity about the parameters, frameworks and purpose of the “emerging market” for financing civil society organisations. According to the report, the social investment market faces three key barriers to evolution: financial risk aversion, lack of understanding of financial needs, and an inefficient market place.

UK venture philanthropist Bridges Ventures has launched an evergreen investment fund dedicated to investing in social enterprises. Founding backers of the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund, which has so far raised £4.25 million, include: Sir Ronald Cohen; Nigel Doughty; Harvey McGrath; Apax Foundation; The Generation Foundation; Lehman Brothers Foundation Europe; Deutsche Bank and 3i.