Big Society Capital taps businesses for innovative social investment approaches

Written by Matt Ritchie

Big Society Capital has called for submissions for its second Business Impact Challenge, through which companies can receive support and possibly match funding for innovative partnerships between corporates and charities or social enterprises.

The Business Impact Challenge seeks the best ideas for high-impact investments that generate both strong business and social value in the UK.

Investment models Big Society Capital is looking to stimulate include corporates investing directly in social enterprises, social purpose joint ventures between businesses and social sector organisations, and social impact bonds.

The challenge will be judged by an expert panel chaired by former Standard Charter chair and Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Davies of Abersoch. The panel includes former Prudential and Man Group chair Harvey McGrath, Former McKinsey & Co managing director Ian Davis, and Belu Water CEO Karen Lynch.

Entries will be judged on social Impact, business models, and delivery. Entries can come from individual companies or partnerships including at least one private company.

Lord Davies said the competition is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to not only benefit from their investment, but also from the expertise and support of Big Society Capital.

“From CEOs to managers, companies need to be thinking about innovative ways of building social value into their business. Those that have done so successfully have not only had a positive social impact but have made commercial gains as well. We now need to see more businesses taking this approach. Charities and social enterprises have expertise in responding to social issues and by working with them companies can determine which social needs best align with their strategy.”

Last year Interserve, ClubFinance and Catch22 joined forces to win the first ever Business Impact Challenge with their idea of a joint venture to enable community organisations, charities and social enterprises to deliver on public service contracts at scale.

The 2016 challenge opens today. The deadline for first stage submissions is 1 September 2016. For information and to enter, click here.

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