Business Impact Challenge shortlist announced | Big Society Capital

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Business Impact Challenge shortlist announced

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Big Society Capital today announced the Business Impact Challenge shortlist, with five innovative partnerships between corporates and charities or social enterprises selected.

The prize was established to catalyse social investment in the UK from businesses and develop a high-impact investment to generate strong business and social value. The winning partnership will raise up to £15 million of investment which will be matched by Big Society Capital, who will also provide support.

The shortlisted businesses are:

  • ASDA – working with local social enterprises, supporting them to bring products and services to market.
  • Interserve – in partnership with the charity Catch22 to create an independent vehicle that enables community organisations, charities and social enterprises to deliver public services at scale. 
  • Land Securities – working with the learning disability charity Mencap to launch the first ‘social’ Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that enables charities and social enterprises to finance existing properties.
  • Taylor Wimpey – working with the charity Crisis to explore viable housing solutions for single homeless people.
  • Wates – a fund that invests in and scales up the most successful social enterprises in its national supply chain for the construction industry.

The shortlist was chosen by an expert panel and assessed on the basis of social impact, business model and delivery. The panel was chaired by Lord Davies of Abersoch (former Chairman of Standard Chartered and Minister of State for Trade and investment) and comprises internet entrepreneur Baroness Lane Fox, The Economist journalist Matthew Bishop, Harvey McGrath (former Chairman of Prudential plc and Man Group plc), Ian Davis (former Managing Director of McKinsey & Co), Karen Lynch (CEO of Belu Water) and Nick O’Donohoe (Chief Executive of Big Society Capital).

Each of the shortlisted candidates will now work with Big Society Capital over the summer to develop their ideas before making a final pitch to the panel in October. 

Lord Davies, who chairs the panel, said:

“The panel was very impressed by the diversity of the ideas submitted and the way in which corporates, working in partnership with charities and social enterprises, have found a role for social investment in their business. As many of these proposals require further development, the shortlisted organisations now have the opportunity to benefit from the expertise and support of Big Society Capital to refine their ideas into a winning one. This challenge really has catalyzed interest for social investment in the private sector and I look forward to seeing the results and announcing the winner in the Autumn.”

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said:

“There is a lot of talk around what corporates can do for social good. We wanted to put that into action and see private companies putting time and resources into strong business ideas that also generate a positive social impact. This shortlist represents a set of ideas that can sit between ‘business as usual’ and CSR. These private companies are at the forefront of looking at how social investment can be deployed and embedding social outcomes into a business plan. It’s an exciting challenge with real potential and we look forward to working with the shortlist to develop their ideas.”

The winner of the Business Impact Challenge will be announced in Autumn 2015.

Last updated | 
18 June 2015