The Magnificent 7: Big Society Impact announces seven winners of its “ideas for Impact” programme

Big Society Capital has chosen the seven winners of “Ideas for Impact” – a new programme to develop ideas for impact funds that can invest in the next generation of social impact enterprises.

The competition attracted 106 applications. The proposals aimed to tackle a wide range of social issues – with the three most common being health & wellbeing; employment, training & education; and housing & local facilities. The winners will receive a tailored package of development support while those that were not selected will be signposted to relevant help and funding.

The 7 winning ideas are:

1. Social business support organisations Catch22 and Hatch Enterprise have partnered up with socially motivated tech investor Social Tech Trust to develop a programme and fund to support organisations in creating solutions to tackle youth unemployment.

2. Social enterprise Cornerstone Place hopes to create a new fund that will support the development or refurbishment of properties to rent to homelessness charities, with the fund taking development risk on properties and using an innovative revenue sharing model.

3. Charity North East Churches Acting Together is looking to scope opportunities to unlock church-owned land and buildings in the North East for affordable and assisted housing.

4. Think-tank Resolution Foundation is scoping a proposed venture fund to invest in ‘tech for good’ ventures that improve working lives for low-paid and insecure workers; addressing structural challenges in UK labour market around rights, progression and skills.

5. Social investment fund manager Resonance wants to scope the appetite and market for a distressed assets fund that looks to purchase properties and lease them back to social and community enterprises on an initial rent-free basis to support their recovery.

6. Social investment consultancy organisation Social Finance is testing the feasibility of a circular economy outcomes fund, in partnership with ReLondon (previously London Waste and Recycling Board). It aims to grow the circular economy, fund outcomes such as reduction of waste and CO2 emissions, and support purpose-led organisations with a circular mission at their heart.

7. Social enterprise support organisation UnLtd is working together with social investor Big Issue Invest to build and share an online tool where social enterprises are able to understand and improve their diversity, equity and inclusion practices and policies.

Applicants were asked to explain the social issue, business models and potential for investment associated with their idea – which would allow multiple social sector organisations to access investment. They had to demonstrate potential to scale through a fund or similar financial structure which could take on investment from Big Society Capital and/or others in future.

The selection panel included a range of experts and leaders across the social enterprise and social impact investment sector: Andrew Croft, SEUK; Ben Smith, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Camilla Dolan, EKA Ventures; June O’Sullivan, London Early Years Foundation; Liz Hayes, Connect Fund; Matthew Bowcock, The Beacon Collaborative; Sarah Colston, Access Foundation; Paul Nicoll, Triodos; Celia Hannon, Nesta.

For further information. please visit the Big Society Capital website.