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Capacity: The Public Services Lab

Fund size | £
Big Society Capital investment | £

Patient, unsecured loan and equity into Capacity, a start-up organisation set up with a mission to bring public, private and third sector organisations together through a common goal: to rethink and reimagine how public services are delivered.

Social impact

Capacity was the winning proposal for our Business Impact Challenge 2015, brought to us by Catch22, Interserve PLC and ClubFinance. Public services across the UK are facing both increasing demand and tightening budgets. The proposal aimed to tackle this problem by working with commissioners and providers alike to make better use of the skills, knowledge and resources that local social sector organisations can bring to these services.

Capacity’s mission can be divided into three areas:

  • Make public sector contracts more accessible to interested organisations and more responsive to community needs;
  • Provide VCSE Providers with the expertise, know-how and IT solutions (via Capacity’s partnership with Interserve) to secure public sector contracts; and
  • Support the start-up and growth of VCSE Providers through business modelling, generation of non-public sector incomes, and more imaginative use of resources.


Financial rationale

The Merseyside region has a long history of social entrepreneurship and is home to a large number of social sector organisations well equipped to deliver high quality public services. The skills and local knowledge of the team, backed by its diverse founders, place Capacity in an excellent position to address many of the barriers that have historically limited the participation of these organisations in public services.


Market development

This model represents an excellent opportunity to support the growth and sustainability of social sector organisations, by enabling them to increase and diversify their income through winning and delivering public service contracts. We also hope the innovative and diverse partnership will encourage further collaboration between the private, public and voluntary sector.


Investment details

  • Big Society Capital investment: £1m loan + £60k equity
  • Interserve PLC: £1m loan + £105k equity
  • Catch22: £105k
  • Clubfinance: £30k equity 
Last updated | 
6 September 2017