Business Impact Challenge | Big Society Capital

A challenge to catalyse corporate social investment with matched investment from Big Society Capital

Corporate social investment is a powerful tool for companies to create growth opportunities that generate profit and achieve positive social impact. Companies at the forefront of their sectors are developing new business models to innovate products, strengthen supply chains, and attract the growing trend of socially aware customers, employees and shareholders.

This year's Business Impact Challenge was launched on 25 February 2016. It is a tailored programme that helps companies develop social investment ideas with matched funding from Big Society Capital.

Expressions of Interest for this year’s programme are due on 30th November 2016. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

The winners of last year's Business Impact Challenge 2015 - Interserve, ClubFinance and Catch 22 - are creating an innovative joint venture to allow community organisations, charities and social enterprises to deliver on public service contracts at scale. 

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"Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the centre."

Michael Porter, Harvard Business School

Submission Criteria

The Business Impact Challenge is a co-investment challenge from Big Society Capital that drives companies to generate profit by embedding social investment into core strategies. A submission to the Business Impact Challenge must meet the following criteria:



    The financial model reflects ability to generate:

    • revenue on an ongoing basis
    • a minimum 5% return with appropriate risk and return trade-off

      Socially Innovative

    The proposed solution to a social problem:

    • is focused in the UK (international social focus supported by additional corporate spend)
    • is positively correlated to making a profit
    • has simple and clear metrics for measuring and monitoring the social outcomes and social risk

      Ambitious and achievable 

    The overall proposal:

    • demonstrates competitive advantage through its use of the company’s existing expertise, resources and networks
    • benefits from a strong management team and robust corporate governance
    • is driven by a senior internal sponsor at the company’s board or management team level


    Entries may come from:

    • individual companies
    • partnerships with social sector organisations (which include at least one wholly commercial enterprise)



    Frequently Asked Questions

    “From CEOs to managers, companies need to be thinking about innovative ways of building social value into their business. Those that have done so successfully have not only had a positive social impact but have made commercial gains as well. We now need to see more businesses taking this approach."

    Lord Davies, Chair of the Business Impact Challenge Panel

    Expert Business Panel

    Latest Research

    The Practitioner's Guide

    Practical how-to guide for companies on the social investment journey | May 2016

    UK Partnership Map

    Map of organisations that can assist companies with social investments | June 2016

    Oliver Wyman Report

    Research on why and how companies are getting involved in social investment | February 2016
    World Economic Forum

    World Economic Forum Report

    Comprehensive report on the business benefits of pursuing social innovation | February 2016

    In the media

    Financial Times

    Big Society Capital announces social investment winners | 30 November 2015


    Business Impact Challenge: catalysing corporate social investment | 1 September 2015

    Financial Times

    Using their loaf on good causes | 17 June 2015

    The Telegraph

    Big Society Capital sets aside £15m for companies that want to deliver social enterprise | 14 December 2014

    Alliance magazine

    Launch of new challenge to get businesses to become social investors | 1 March 2016

    Spears Magazine

    Big Society Capital launches social investment contest | 4 March 2016

    Charity Times

    Big Society Capital taps businesses for innovative social investment approaches | 25 February 2016

    City Philanthropy

    Business leaders challenged to become more socially enterprising by Big Society Capital

    Contact us

    Claire Kearney

    Strategy and Market Development Director