On Thursday last week the Rt Hon Francis Maude, the Minister for Cabinet Office, hosted an Angels for Good event at number 11 Downing Street to introduce current and prospective social angel investors to social entrepreneurs and members of the angel.
This report provides a framework for assessing the social impact investment market, highlighting the need to continue to build the evidence base for social investment and the requirement for further international collaboration to develop global standards for impact measurement.
Yesterday, the Guardian reported that, according to the National Audit Office (NAO) there has been a 14% increase in the number of children in care (Baby P effect takes children in care numbers to 25-year high, says NAO). More clearly needs to be done to tackle the challenges around children in care, which leads to a range of poorer outcomes for those children, not least far lower educational attainment.
“Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”
― H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds”
I sometimes think applying for social investment is like standing at the bottom of the Three Gorges Dam with a small cup, and asking for some water to make a cup of tea. You shout up at a person standing at the top of the dam to ask for some water. “Hang on a minute” they say, and go off to turn a wheel to release some water from the dam. What you get is a huge gush of water out, at great speed, surging out with the potential energy of the water behind the dam. It sweeps away your little cup and if you are not careful, takes you with it.
The second trap we fall into with social investment is using a broad word to describe a number of quite different things. We then assert that social investment is just one of them – the investment part. To me, social investment is actually four quite different things which do overlap with each other, but are quite distinct. It’s not surprising therefore, that in a “can you explain social investment to your esteemed relative” test, we end up getting slightly confused ourselves.
The old challenge is, can you explain your job in a way that your otherwise highly capable elderly relatives would understand? Most of my esteemed elders are dead, so I admit, that is a bit of a barrier to communication, but let’s not have reality stand in the way of a good metaphor in social investment.
Despite growing demand for charity services, concerted attempts to take proven approaches to scale are few and far between, with successful examples even rarer. This paper proposes ways of assessing the viability of scaling in different contexts.
Today we’re launching the Business Impact Challenge - an opportunity for corporates to develop high-impact social purpose investment ideas and receive matching funding of up to £15 million and support from Big Society Capital.
A new £15 million challenge prize has today been launched to catalyse private sector demand for social investment in the UK. The Business Impact Challenge, launched by social investment bank Big Social Capital, is looking for the best idea for a high-impact investment that generates strong business and social value in the UK.
The Real Lettings Property Fund, the largest impact investment fund in the UK, now stands at more than £46m after two high profile investors decided to significantly increase their initial commitments.
Those of us working in the social investment market have often been teased about the creation of a whole new language in an attempt to blend the financial and social sectors. But in the last few months I have read two quite different views on the state of the social investment market as we approach the end of 2014. And it has left me wondering – what do we all mean when we say ‘social investment market’?
The journey towards helping individuals address the financial needs of social organisations has sped up considerably today. In today’s Autumn statement, the Chancellor’s announced that Government intends to seek approval for a significant increase to the size of investments that are eligible under Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) to £5m per organisation per year from its previous limit of approximately £290,000 over three years. This is what charities and social enterprises asked for and Government has clearly listened. This should be a big boost to the sector, which could help address persistent capital needs, and potentially transform the nature of the social investment market.