Early stage social enterprises have the opportunity to receive part of a £500,000 investment to take their venture to the next level and increase the social impact they are having.
In partnership with Barclays, Big Issue Invest – the social investment arm of the Big Issue magazine – has opened a second round of its Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) programme. Five partners will invest in, support and nurture high potential social businesses that are tackling some of the biggest social issues we are facing in the UK today.
The CSV initiative aims to ensure a sustainable flow of investment capital and business support to early-stage enterprises that are looking to deliver social value over the long-term. As well as the capital, enterprises benefit from business mentoring support, allowing the ventures to grow in terms of financial return and social good.
For this round of the initiative, the investment and support will come from Experian, First Ark, Fusion21, Places for People and the University of Northampton. The cabinet office, as part of the £10m social investment fund that launched in 2012, will also support it.
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To be considered for investment, entrants must be able to deliver high social impact and work in the fields of health, education, wellbeing, homelessness or the creative and technology industries. The CSV challenge is seeking up to 20 teams for an intensive mentoring programme, of which 10 will then be chosen to receive an investment of up to £50,000.
Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest and chair of the Big Issue, said, “The Corporate Social Venturing programme is core to the Big Issue’s mission. We don’t want people ending up on the streets and that’s why we’re investing in brilliant social ventures that create jobs, training, accommodation and wellbeing. It’s all about prevention.”
He added that the support and time given to the successful enterprises was not some “fly-by-night ‘social wash’” it was “for real”.
A third CSV programme is due to launch in autumn 2014, with a further £500,000 on offer.
Social enterprises have been performing well and growing at a rapid rate in recent years. The sector can offer an attractive investment opportunity. Data from the Royal Bank of Scotland SE100 index shows that last year the enterprises listed on average grew by 42%, with the top 100 growers seeing business expand by 403%.
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