Big Society Capital today announced a partnership between public service provider Interserve, social business Catch22 and social finance experts Clubfinance has won the Business Impact Challenge.
In partnership with Big Society Capital, the three organisations will create the Public Services Lab, a social business that will enable community organisations, charities and social enterprises to deliver public service contracts at scale. The winning partnership will now progress through Big Society Capital’s investment process with a view to receiving £5 million in matched investment.
Tim Haywood, Interserve’s Group Finance Director and Head of Sustainability, said: “We have worked with voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) for many years, most recently and prominently in our frontline public services contracts for employment and rehabilitation. We believe that a model that combines the qualities of the private and voluntary sectors is best-placed for delivering such important services. But many excellent VCSEs find it difficult to access funding and don’t necessarily have the skills to bid for large public sector contracts.
“So we are delighted to have won the Business Impact Challenge which could give us the opportunity to increase the capabilities of the VCSE sector and help us deliver the Social Value which is at the heart of our business strategy.”
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Chris Wright, CEO, Catch22, said: “The ultimate aim of the Public Services Lab is better outcomes for the users of public services. In the current financial climate, it is more important than ever for the voluntary, community, public and private sectors to come together to develop creative solutions to the challenges facing public services. We’re delighted to have found forward-thinking partners to make this happen. Winning this competition enables all of us – Interserve, Clubfinance, Big Society Capital and Catch22 – to take the first step on this exciting journey. We know there is already huge appetite for this in Liverpool, welcoming what we hope will be a trailblazing indication of the future.”
The winner was chosen by an expert panel chaired by Lord Davies of Abersoch (former Chairman of Standard Chartered and Minister of State for Trade and Investment) and comprised of internet entrepreneur Baroness Lane Fox, Harvey McGrath (former Chairman of Prudential plc and Man Group plc), Ian Davis (former Managing Director of McKinsey & Co), Karen Lynch (CEO of Belu Water), The Economist journalist Matthew Bishop and Nick O’Donohoe (Chief Executive of Big Society Capital).
Five partnerships were shortlisted for the Business Impact Challenge. Two High Commendations were awarded – Wates and Social & Sustainable Capital, developing the supply chain and a social investment fund in the housing and built environment sector, and Asda and Social Investment Scotland, supporting local social enterprises to bring products and services to market. Big Society Capital will continue to work with them on their proposals with the possibility of matched investment in the future.
Lord Davies, who chairs the panel, said: “The Business Impact Challenge was established to really engage business and catalyse social investment with the private sector. We wanted to see ideas that would generate strong business and social value. The panel was very impressed by the innovative vision of the Interserve and Catch22 proposal. The amount of work and resources that have already been committed give us confidence that this proposal can be significantly transformative when launched.”
Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said: “This challenge has been a great opportunity for private companies to partner with charities and social enterprises and really explore how they can embed social outcomes into their business plans. We’ve been incredibly impressed not only by Interserve and Catch22, but also by the partnerships between Wates and Social and Sustainable Capital, and Asda and Social Investment Scotland. As such, we want to see the winner and both highly commended entries progress through our investment process and realise the enormous potential of their ideas.”
For more information, visit www.businessimpactchallenge.