Mission-led businesses have a vital role to play in tackling some of the most difficult and entrenched social problems in our society, a challenge which requires a long-term approach. A similarly long-term, patient investment from a mission-aligned investor can enable these organisations to focus on the services they provide, and scale and improve the impact these create. A mission-aligned investor may also support a private business to further define and embed its social mission, as part of a ‘take social’ investment. Bridges Evergreen will focus on high-impact organisations operating in its four key areas, in line with Bridges’ existing social sector funds: health and wellbeing, education and skills, sustainable living and underserved markets.
Evergreen will make equity and quasi-equity investments into existing regulated social sector organisations, public and charitable sector spin-outs and private ‘profit-with-purpose’ businesses. In particular, it will seek out areas where a mission-led organisation can enjoy a structural or competitive advantage, helping to align both social and financial performance. It is structured not as a fund but as a holding company, producing yield for investors via dividends and loan interest. With no requirement to seek exits, it can act as a permanent source of capital and support, making it easier for these organisations to achieve their long-term goals.
This is an innovative investment structure and solution which will support organisations to accelerate their growth, compete more effectively and scale their impact. In addition to financial capital, it will also offer strategic, operational and impact management support plus access to the specialist networks of the Bridges’ team, including other organisations within the Evergreen portfolio as this grows. Matched funding has been received from a wide variety of investors, which will also help promote social investment to a range of new funding sources.
- Fund size: £22.5 million
- Big Society Capital investment: £11.25 million
- Co-investors: Eaga Trust, Bridges Charitable Trust, Greater Manchester Pension Fund, Merseyside Pension Fund, other charitable trusts, foundations and HNWIs.
- Arranger/Manager: Bridges Ventures