We know that all too often there is a mismatch between the hype of social investment and the gritty reality. Part of this is a mismatch of expectations – between the social investor with the money, and the social enterprise looking to raise finance. And in my experience, this mismatch is particularly striking around the issue of governance.
Building mass participation within social investment can significantly impact communities and individuals. At Big Society Capital, we ultimately want to see millions of people contributing to social change through their own personal finance choices, and thousands of grassroots organisations being able to access the finance they need to support their local communities.
Who should be a social investor? Should social investment be the preserve of big financial institutions, charitable foundations, large companies and high-net-worth individuals? Or should this be accessible to regular people who identify with a social issue or a community and want to do everything they can to help?
Last week the Big Lottery Fund announced that up to £293,250 in grant funding has been offered in-principle to North Somerset Council for a four-year social impact bond (SIB) to support 240 local young people aged 10 to 17 who are at risk of going into care.
We are key sponsors of the Worthstone Social Investment Academy, a leading forum for independent financial advisers who are incorporating social impact investment advice within the financial planning process.
At Big Society Capital, we are seeing increasing interest in the use of social investment to pump prime public service reform. There are wide areas of government services which could benefit from being commissioned partially or fully on the basis of outcomes.
A core part of Big Society Capital’s role as an investor is to source and develop new investment proposals, as well as assessing applications we receive. We actively seek partners to co-design solutions which address specific social issues and fill gaps where social investment could have a role to play.