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Transparency: Big Society Capital as a market champion

Today we publish details of our ongoing work as a ‘market champion’ with a list of our completed and current projects. Why are we doing this and what does this mean?

Big Society Capital was set-up to play a twin role in supporting social investment in the UK – as an investor and as a market champion.

The first role – as an investor – is perhaps easier to understand and observe. It is certainly more debated. We have supported over two hundred charities and social enterprises in accessing capital via around 40 different investments of our own, and we plan to invest all of the £600m of capital we will receive in similar ways.

Our second role – as a market champion – is arguably just as important, but less well understood. It involves raising awareness of when social investment is a good tool for charities and social enterprises to reach for, and when it is not. It sees us convene like-minded people, for example recent events we have run for providers of services to homeless people to meet social investors –The relationships we build with charities and social enterprises are also key to our learning on how social investment is working, and where it can address social need in future.

We also work to encourage investment into the sector and reach out to new groups of investors, such as Local Authority Pension Funds, and the intermediaries and advisers that some investors use. We advocate for sensible public policy changes, such as the social investment tax relief, and public commissioning measures that help will charities and social enterprises. And occasionally we work with partners to build entirely new platforms to enhance access to capital, such as the Access Foundation for social investment, or to involve corporates to get involved, as with the Business Impact Challenge.

We want to make it easier to find out what we’re doing as a market champion, and to get involved, as very little can be achieved by acting alone and lots if we act in partnership with others. So today we are publishing a list of our ‘live’ market championing projects, including names of the relevant lead in the Big Society Capital team. This list excludes our ongoing engagement with the social and financial sectors, details of which will be published on our website early in 2016. We will periodically refresh this list as part of our Transparency initiative.


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