By Max Clarke
Following the launch of the Government’s ‘Growing the Social Investment Market’ report, it has been recognised that social ventures require easier access to capital in order to expand and develop not just their social impact, but also to increase their GDP contribution; and the Big Society Bank is that missing piece.
Jonathan Jenkins, Director of Ventures at specialist social entrepreneur support organisation, UnLtd, has been working with NESTA, investors in innovation, to pilot product concepts surrounding Big Society Bank and has given his response on the report,
“We are pleased to see recognition from the Government for a need to change the social investment market so that it becomes a vital element for those social ventures preparing to scale up. Angel investors have an important role to play and at UnLtd, we have already started the process to ensure that there is a nascent and growing interest in social investment.”
The report identifies that the Big Society Bank will not only leverage new finance and speed the growth of the market; it will also act as a portal to connect social ventures with sources of investment; UnLtd is the world’s largest provider of support and is currently developing multiple new product offerings to continue the social entrepreneur support. Jenkins continues, “The Big Society Bank will hopefully ensure a more appropriate classification for investment opportunities, so that both the social entrepreneur and investor and achieve a social and not just financial gain from the deal.”
For the social investment market to develop, the report highlights the need for a collaborative effort from the likes of investment advisers, philanthropic foundations and high-net worth individuals. Jenkins concludes, “UnLtd has been working closely with a number of leading organisations, one of which is NESTA and their Big Society Finance Fund. It is imperative, in my opinion that this positive momentum towards social investment continues while the Big Society Bank is established; this will ensure that investment-ready social entrepreneurs always have an alternative route to funding and support.”
The report is available for download at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk