Big Society Capital launches call for innovative social impact investment ideas

The social impact investor has called on fund managers, social enterprises and charities to submit their ideas by 1 March 2021 – and is offering up to £30,000 of development funding plus in-kind support and connections for a selection of ideas with the greatest potential to transform people’s lives in the UK.

Applicants are encouraged to explain the social issue, business models and potential for investment associated with their idea – which would allow multiple social sector organisations to access investment.

Ideas could relate to changing a part of the existing investment system that does not work, bringing together partners in new ways, or aligning the needs of charities, social enterprises and investors with a solution that is more effective than those currently available. They should demonstrate potential to scale through a fund or similar structure which could take on investment from Big Society Capital and/or others in future.

The initiative has been launched to start to address the current scarcity of funding available for fund managers, charities and social enterprises to test and develop early-stage ideas.

The selection panel includes a range of experts and leaders across the social enterprise and social impact investment sector: Andrew Croft, SEUK; Ben Smith, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Camilla Dolan, EKA Ventures; June O’Sullivan, London Early Years Foundation; Liz Hayes, Connect Fund; Matthew Bowcock, The Beacon Collaborative; Sarah Colston, Access Foundation; Paul Nicoll, Triodos; Victoria Bew, Nesta.

To apply, applicants should complete this form by 12 noon Monday 1 March.

Camilla Parke, Investment Director at Big Society Capital, says: “Fund managers, charities and social enterprises have often been at the forefront of developing social impact investment solutions to UK social challenges – but there is currently a scarcity of funding to support them in the early stages of development. So, we’re thrilled to be launching Ideas for Impact – which will support them in taking the lead on developing more ideas to help improve people’s lives.”


Toyin Miller, Senior Relationship Manager at Triodos and member of the panel, says: “The opportunity for social impact investment to deliver greater innovation is not a new concept. The ability for finance to ‘seed’ fresh ideas, from those with lived and first-hand experience has been proven to be successful. “I look forward to discovering how the Ideas for Impact applicants have used social innovation through investment to play a key role in creating a more inclusive and equitable society.”

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