Today Nesta announces the first social investments, totalling over £2 million, from Nesta Impact Investments - backed by Big Society Capital and Omidyar Network. The £25 million fund is investing in organisations tackling issues, such as elderly care, poor educational standards and financial exclusion, that have social impact as well as providing a potential return for investors.
Welcoming the announcement, our Chief Executive Nick O'Donohoe said:
“To tackle some of the biggest challenges in the UK today, we need to ensure that financial support is available to organisations and entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions and harnessing new technology. By investing £8 million in Nesta Impact Investments, we are able to support the very best in new ideas to scale up and reach more people.”
One investment is in Oomph!, an award winning social enterprise improving the health and quality of life of older adults in care homes through innovative group exercise classes, such as ‘chair cheerleading’. So far, Oomph! has carried out 7,000 sessions in over 600 care homes and is now rapidly expanding. Writing in the Guardian Social Enterprise Network today, twenty-six year-old founder Ben Allen said:
"Getting people excited by what we do is fun. But choosing the right option for the short term and the long term of Oomph! was much harder. We wanted an investor that allowed us freedom to grow the company in the way we wanted while adding real value through their skills, networks and expertise."
Other investments announced were in Frees Family Finance (a unique current account that helps families to save as they spend), Movellas (an online story sharing community aimed at improving literacy skills amongst teenagers) and Sherston Software (who develop innovative educational software designed to motivate children and boost their educational performance).