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Healthcare social enterprises in massive 121% growth in 2013



Social enterprises in the health and social care sector saw massive growth in 2013, according to a new report from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) SE100. It found that the sector grew by 121% last year, with a turnover of £852m – representing a significant investment opportunity.

Some 15.8% of the RBS SE100 Index, which lists, ranks and scores social ventures based on their growth and impact, focus on the health and social care sector. They cover a wide range of activities including running hospices, promoting healthy eating and providing training for people with learning difficulties.

The growth in the sector has partly been driven by the public sector spin-out – created by an entrepreneurially-minded local authority or health service employees leaving to set up their own independent social enterprise, which then provide the same public services under contract.

Jonathon Lewis, CEO of Bromley Healthcare, one of the social enterprises featuring on the SE100, commented, “It’s an exciting time to be an NHS spin-out – markets are really opening up.”

He added that organisations like his can “re-find the spirit of the NHS without wading through the thick mud of bureaucracy, and look after the patients better and more holistically.” For instance, Lewis says that simply treating an elderly patient who lives on their own is not always enough; they may also need hot meals and other forms of care.

Seb Beloe, head of sustainability research at WHEB Listed Equities, previously picked out healthcare as a smart investment trend for the future. He noted that an ageing population in developed nations, along with a rising number of obese people, would see healthcare demand rise and therefore represent a massive proportion of spending.

Beloe wrote, “Companies helping to reduce costs either through keeping people healthy… or though more effective treatments and shorter stays in hospital will be well-placed to meet this expanding demand.”

According to Andrew Laird, founding director of specialty mutual and spin-outs consultancy Mutual Ventures, social enterprises in the health and social care sector will continue to grow. He added we will begin to see spin-outs working in partnership to bid for big contracts against outsourcing giants, such as Virgin Care, G4S and Serco.

Across the whole SE100 index, social enterprises grew by 42%, whilst the average growth for the top 100 fastest growers is 403%. The total turnover posted by 1,033 organisations was £11.5 billion, with the largest 100 accounting for £10.6 billion. Social enterprises are becoming an increasingly popular investment choice as they help address social issues and challenges whilst providing a financial return.

Ian Walter, managing director of business banking at RBS, said, “It is a challenging time for our public services, and social enterprises – with their business approach and social ethos – can off a strong model for success.”

The social enterprise sector is likely to receive a boost in the coming months and years after George Osborne announced a tax relief in this year’s budget. Big Society Capital estimates the incentive could unlock nearly half a billion pounds in finance over the next five years.

Photo: Bromley Healthcare

Further reading:

Addressing the future healthcare needs of emerging markets

World Health Organisation: 7 million people died because of air pollution in 2012

Investing in the future: smart investment trends

Charity Bank eyes growth after £14.5m social investment from Big Society Capital

Bringing social investment into the mainstream


These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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