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 Major New Finance On The Way for Social Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Start-Ups

October 2022 Impact investing is on the brink of becoming a mainstream investment channel that will create finance for a new wave of impact entrepreneurs, innovators and start-ups to deliver urgently needed solutions to social and environmental challenges, according to qualitative research released by global legal and advisory practice, Taylor Vinters.  Research based on hour long interviews of a panel of 36 key figures representing impact investors, investee companies, independent experts and public bodies working within the impact sector, reveals impact investing is already entering the mainstream with heavyweight private equity investors, including Apollo, KKR, Bain and TPG entering with funds targeting positive social and environmental impact, and that angel investors and VCs are also seeing impact as an important driver of commercial potential.  The research found that there is a need to let go of the view that impact investing is the preserve of smaller, boutique and specialised investment houses. The study highlighted that impact investors are on the hunt for ‘solution seeking’ investments that support positive, intentional impact from products and services that demonstrably make the world a better place from a social and environmental standpoint.  Findings point to the potential of the impact sector to provide solutions to major social challenges such as housing, homelessness and social care, and that there is an opportunity for government and impact investors to work together in these areas suggesting a combined strategy coming from government, business, public sector and the third sector. An example given is linking sustainable housing to tackling the housing shortage and homelessness, and how impact investors can play a full role in delivering on targets relating to these areas.  Also identified is the potential for the role of impact investing to support government’s Levelling Up Agenda (and any successor), through to the need for government to carefully consider those areas of economic, social, and cultural activity where a fully catalysed impact investment community could play a vital role in successfully addressing social challenges.  The wider belief revealed by the research, is that unlocking this potential requires vision from government. For example, if government sought to link greener housing with attempts to tackle the housing shortage and homelessness, and set ambitious and stretching targets, consideration could be given to how impact investors could play a full role in delivering on those ambitions. In light of adopting such an approach, government could then consider how it would need to act in terms of providing incentives, or seed capital for new innovation.  Impact investing and ESG are not the same, but are complementary The study finds that a major factor for the growth of impact investment in the mainstream of investing, is the need to have a clear recognition of the distinct roles and opportunities of impact investing and Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) reporting.  The key distinction between impact investment and ESG monitoring is considered to be that impact ventures are founded on clearly defined, high levels of intentionality, and that ESG monitoring is rooted in compliance and reporting.   A key observation is that impact ventures can offer quicker, more innovative solutions to major global challenges, such as environmental degradation and renewable energy, compared to ESG compliance and reporting, which is more focused on describing the status quo and also subject to risk from confusing metrics, and to claims of 'green-washing'.  Market innovation required  The second identified necessary factor for impact investing to become grounded in the mainstream of investing, is market innovation. This involves understanding that the impact element of business models has real intrinsic value. Participants in the research identified a growing awareness and realisation that intentionality of impact is an essential indicator of sustainable value. At a time of change in a more uncertain world, impact has become a long-term indicator of worth, and that the impact element of businesses should be considered an asset with financial value.  However, it is also considered that a situation needs to be created that allows stakeholders to determine a more precise spectrum of intentionality and return for investors seeking highly scalable, deployable propositions with market rate returns. ‘Impact first, investment first’ strategy Research participants highlighted the fact that already this has led to what is becoming more commonly known as the ‘impact first, investment first’ model, in which impact and finance is in a lock-step relationship.  Another important element required for successful market innovation is marketisation. That the right rewards have to be created to generate results, how best to price externalities, and to incentivise investment and corporate behaviours. For example, innovations in shareholder agreements and other legal documents that underpin company formation and venture founder benefits. The research identified that networks within the impact investing sector are considered vital to market innovation as they will help educate, and ensure impact assessment and due diligence in investment practice. The networks and organisations named include: VentureESG, Diversity ESG, GINN's Gender Lens Investing Hub, Responsible Investment Network – Universities (RINU), the Impact Investing Institute and Big Society Capital.  Impact ventures can solve the biggest global challenges  There is a view that there are very significant financial return opportunities from highly intentional impact ventures that address major challenges such as global warming, energy supply and inequality within societies. And in addition, momentum can be accelerated in the impact investment sector to significantly drive economic growth by increasing the rate of innovation across all business areas leading to a new phase of businesses creation, new products and services, productivity improvements, increases in GDP, increased employment, as well as generating positive impact.  ‘The results of this report are simple. If we accelerate innovation in the impact investment ecosystem, we will accelerate innovation across the whole of business. It would create extraordinary dividends by enabling growth and urgently needed solutions to the economic, energy, environmental and social challenges,’ comments Taylor Vinters CEO, Matt Meyer. ‘Unlocking the potential of impact investment could not be more timely in terms of the need to address the major challenges we face. There is a real opportunity to make a significantly positive difference through commitment to what is the investment channel of the future.’  Interviews with research panel members were one hour in length, and conducted independently by market strategy consultant and author, Dr John Knell. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE REPORT   taylorvinters.com

31 Oct

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5 min

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Social enterprise calls for older people and their relatives to help increase social connections and companionship during the winter months

31 October 2022 Homeshare services across the UK are raising awareness this week of how they can support their local community by safely matching older people living alone with those seeking affordable accommodation. The news comes as the true scale of loneliness for all ages in the UK is becoming understood.1.4 million older people in the UK are often lonely[1].Many people in mid and later life are also finding themselves without affordable housing options due to the increasing cost of living. Homeshare, works by matching people together for mutual support; a person who has a spare room and is looking for company and a bit of practical support, shares their home with someone looking for affordable accommodation. Both people benefit from the companionship and having a friendly face at home. The householder typically receives 10 hours per week of practical support provided by the homesharer such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening or even enjoying social activities together, but no personal care is involved. Younger people are being priced out of the villages, towns, and cities they want to live in, for work or study. Latest figures again show that the average age at which people can leave home even to rent is rising along with the proportion of income spent on housing. Across the UK, local Homeshare providers offer more people the opportunity to live sociably and affordably whatever their age, with the right support structures in place to make it safe and enjoyable. They are supported by Homeshare UK – the UK network for local Homeshare providers. This week is Homeshare Aware week, where organisations across the UK are calling on older people and their relatives to get in touch and not face another quiet winter if they’d prefer some company at home. As the darker nights draw in, more people feel safe and secure having the reassurance of an overnight presence and someone to share a meal with. Catherine Ambrose, Homeshare UK Service Manager from Homeshare UK said, “Whilst practical support in the home is beneficial for older people in our area, we find that the majority of our Homeshare matches say that having companionship and a safe place to live is the top benefit for them. Just hearing the key in the lock as the night draws in, as someone comes in from work, is reassuring. “Family and friends of an older relative feel much more at ease knowing their loved one has someone in the home with them, who has their best interests at heart. Younger people also benefit from the companionship and learn new skills from someone of a different generation.” Homeshare matches are facilitated, supported and closely monitored by their local Homeshare provider. As members of Homeshare UK, they draw on established national good practice guidance and a quality assurance framework from Homeshare UK to ensure safety and quality, including face-to-face and ongoing support. A daughter of a householder with Homeshare Living said, “Homesharing has made such a difference to my mum’s life. She is much happier as she is not alone in the evenings, and she has someone else to chat to, share meals with and care about. It has also given me immense peace of mind that someone is there in case anything happens. Mum is well in to her 90’s now and I feel sure that things would have been very different, and she would probably not have been able to stay in her home these last few years if she hadn’t had a sharer.” Deborah Fox, Head of Homeshare UK, who are organising the campaign says, “We know that winter is a time when we naturally see even fewer people during the shorter days, more than a million older people say they go over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour, or family member. With the cost of living constantly on the rise, we’re experiencing more unsettling times, however having someone at home to provide companionship, reassurance and support has a positive impact on the well-being of those in Homeshare arrangements. “This year during Homeshare Aware Week we’re asking older people and their relatives to get in touch with one of the 20 Homeshare organisations across the UK, who offer wonderful opportunities for older and younger people to connect and help each other out – whether it’s practical, offering a spare room, or companionship. We all need real life company more than ever in our society today. “It's a safe and enjoyable way to relieve the pressure of living alone and bring peace of mind to everyone involved.” To find out more about Homeshare and enquire with your local provider please visit https://homeshareuk.org/ If you are interested in setting up a Homeshare UK social franchise visit https://homeshareuk.org/franchise-opportunities/ About Homeshare UK Homeshare UK is part of Shared Lives Plus, the membership charity for a kinder, stronger society built on sharing our lives and our homes. We build communities where everyone lives a full life, regardless of the support they need. Homeshare UK is a vibrant network of likeminded individuals who are passionate about delivering Homeshare in a safe and effective way. We also help anyone who wants to start a Homeshare service with bespoke advice, training and consultancy. We are members of Homeshare International, and proactively work with Homeshare providers across the world. In 2021 Homeshare UK secured a 1.2 million pound grant to support the scale up of Homeshare across the UK. This money will be used to incubate two large scale programmes across the north of England and a franchise model that will be suitable for delivery in smaller towns and rural locations. Find out more at www.homeshareuk.org [1] https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/policy-research/loneliness-research-and-resources/

31 Oct

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4 min

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Homeless startup named one of UK’s Top 15 startups by LinkedIn

28 September 2022 Beam, a social impact startup supporting homeless people and refugees into stable jobs and homes, has been named one of the UK’s top 15 startups by LinkedIn. Other companies on LinkedIn’s 2022 list include Monzo, Revolut, Multiverse and Octopus Energy. LinkedIn’s prestigious annual list, now in its sixth year, features 15 UK companies that are rising to the challenges of the moment and continuing to innovate and gain attention in 2022. Launched in 2017, Beam uses crowdfunding to remove the financial barriers facing homeless people and refugees. It then matches them with forward-thinking landlords and employers like Arriva, Bupa and Pret. Last month, the company reached a milestone of supporting 1,000 people into stable jobs and homes.  Beam’s 70-person team is headquartered in Hoxton, East London but operates in England, Scotland and Wales with ambitions to operate globally. Alex Stephany, Founder & CEO of Beam, said: “Over the past 12 months, the Beam team has more than doubled in size and continues to attract talent from the world’s best startups and scaleups looking to use their skills to accomplish truly meaningful work. Beam’s goal is to become the most positively impactful company in the world, and redefine the positive role that business can and should play in society. Being named by LinkedIn as one of the UK’s top 15 startups is an exciting validation that we’re on the right track.”  LinkedIn Top Startups leverages exclusive LinkedIn data focused on member actions on the platform, including employment growth, engagement with the company and its current employees, job interest, and attraction of top talent. More information on this year’s winners can be found here. beam.org

28 Sep

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2 min

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Kids’ media club sees confidence and skills soar after working with more than 750 ‘mini reporters’ during the summer

Greater Manchester based pop-up TV studio and newsroom Media Cubs has worked with their biggest number of children yet - more than 750 new young people in the six-week summer holidays - transforming them into 'mini reporters' to increase confidence, skills and aspirations.  A total of 154 children were asked about their experience of the Media Cubs workshops: 93% said they had learned something new, 88% felt more confident after taking part, 84% said they felt their views and opinions are important, 78% said they were happy to speak in front of others and 59% said they think they could work in a TV studio or newsroom.  Kirsty Day, co-founder of Media Cubs and project lead, said: “First and foremost, we want all the children we work with during the holidays to have lots of fun, which is why they took on new challenges this year from stop motion to creating their own adverts and interviewing sports stars and authors.   “And as a result of a diverse set of activities we were able to support them to grow in confidence, which has taken a big knock during the pandemic, and increase their skill set and understand that their views and opinions matter – which is reflected in the survey results.  “It is also important to us to work with young people to increase their aspirations and giving them an understanding that they can grow up to be anything they want to be by having a taste of what a newsroom and TV studio entails, where previously it may have felt out of their reach. We believe that children from all backgrounds have a place in the newsroom and should feel confident that their views matter and voices will be heard.  "Feedback from young people included “I got my lack of confidence up”, “I was able to share my feelings” and “I never thought I would get to interview a sports star” - and that is what makes Media Cubs so valuable. “750 children is the highest number we have worked with in the space of six weeks and we want to continue to grow these numbers across Greater Manchester to help more young people broadcast confidence. And we have some exciting new projects coming up in Autumn to strengthen that aim.”  As well as the data from the survey, the children were also asked what they enjoyed most about working with Media Cubs and some of the highlights included trying out new things and sharing their ideas, working with the cameras, making films, creating stop motion animations, presenting and interviewing sports stars and authors. Media Cubs worked across five boroughs - Salford, Wigan, Bolton, Trafford, Stockport - and expanded the providers that they teamed up with too, including Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Sale Sharks, Foundation 92, Stockport Life Leisure, Salford Life Centre, Lancashire Cricket Club, Manchester City Council, Wigan Council, and many more. If you would like to learn more about Media Cubs please visit their website: https://www.mediacubs.co.uk/

16 Sep

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3 min

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Charity Bank becomes the latest organisation to sign the new Diversity Forum Manifesto

Charity Bank, the loans and savings bank for charities and social enterprises, has signed up to the Diversity Forum Manifesto, reaffirming its commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Created by The Diversity Forum, a network with a mission to improve inclusion in the UK Social Investment sector, the Manifesto sets out 7 clear commitments that organisations are required to report on annually alongside 10 suggested initial implementing actions. The 7 EDI commitments ensure organisations are taking ownership of their EDI, creating meaningful collaborations, building an inclusive culture, being open and transparent, investing in equitable representation, engaging in sustainable inclusion, and advocating for marginalised voices. As part of their commitment, Charity Bank is joining the Diversity Champions Network which regularly meets to review best practice in the sector reviewing recruitment, training, and overall culture. The Champions network plays a crucial role in collecting data and sharing best practice relating to diversity and inclusion from across the social impact sector, helping to support the mission of the Diversity Forum. Charity Bank becomes the 12th organisation to sign the new Manifesto after its launch in January 2022. The Manifesto 2.0 was developed with the support of the Diversity Forum Steering Group and representatives from the Diversity Champions network. The Diversity Forum is funded by the Connect Fund, a joint fund supported by the barrow Cadbury Trust and Access – The Foundation for Social Investment. Other organisations that have signed up so far include; UnLtd, The Key Fund, Social Investment Business, Big Issue Invest, Access, Big Society Capital, Social Tech Trust, Social Investment Scotland, Co-operative and Community Finance, Architectural Heritage Fund, Resonance, Bristol and Bath Regional Capital and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Ed Siegel, CEO of Charity Bank said “We’re proud to have signed the Diversity Forum Manifesto which reaffirms our commitment to improving Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through our investing activities as well as our own day-to-day operations, employment practices and working culture. The 7 commitments outlined by the Manifesto will help challenge our whole organisation, empowering us to improve and work collaboratively towards a more inclusive future. We hope that more organisations will join us and the other Manifesto signatories in our efforts to rectify the longstanding disadvantage experienced by systemically excluded and underfunded groups.” Amir Rizwan, Chair of The Diversity Forum said “We are absolutely delighted that Charity Bank has signed the new Diversity Manifesto that we launched earlier this year and taking us to a total of 15 social investment signatories to date.” “The leadership shown by Charity Bank and its commitment to holding itself accountable to diversity, equality, and inclusion is much welcomed and we are looking forward to working with them over the coming months and years as they start their journey to become a more diverse and equitable organisation. Also, we hope that this signals to others in the sector that have not yet signed up to the new Diversity Manifesto to explore how they can join us on this journey.” About Charity Bank Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank for charities, social enterprises and people who want to make the world a better place. It uses its savers’ money to provide much needed loans to UK organisations working to drive positive social change – bringing benefits for people, communities, and the environment. Since 2002, Charity Bank has made more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community, and other social purpose organisations. Charity Bank is owned by social purpose organisations and aims to use its expertise, commitment, and flexible approach to lending, to help charities and social enterprises get the support and funding they need. www.CharityBank.org About The Diversity Forum The Diversity Forum is a collective on a mission to drive inclusive social investment in the UK. We do this by commissioning research, sharing knowledge, and convening sector-wide groups to discuss equity, equality, diversity and inclusion in depth. The Diversity Forum is led by the Steering Group made up of representatives from across the social investment sector, including our Chair, Amir Rizwan. The Forum also has a Champions network of employees working within a number of social investment organisations who have a passion for EDI or are in an EDI related role, including EDI leads from organisations who have signed the Manifesto. The Champions network meets quarterly at present with the addition of one-off events and training as required or suggested by those within the network. In addition, the Diversity Forum holds monthly online events on topical EDI issues that are available on our YouTube channel here. We also have a monthly newsletter to promote diversity awareness and celebration days and recent updates within the sector. We commission research including our notable Inclusive Impact report on the diversity of UK social investment sector in 2018. Finally, the Diversity Forum are proud to be actively engaged in collaborating with EDI partners from across the sector, including EIIP, EquallyOurs and Addressing Imbalance.

07 Sep

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4 min

Member updates

Tech for Good crowdfunding platform expands to Ukrainian refugees

Members of the public can now donate to Ukrainian refugees looking for stable jobs and homes in the UK, thanks to a new service from Tech for Good social enterprise start-up Beam.  Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are set to benefit from Beam’s platform, which uses crowdfunding to remove financial obstacles to starting work or moving into a home. The news comes amid reports that 1,300 Ukrainian refugees face homelessness in the UK, just six months after the start of the war.  Through Beam, members of the public can now fund job training, childcare, laptops, smartphones, travel costs and rental deposits for Ukrainian refugees resettling in the UK. They can also send messages of encouragement through the platform, becoming part of their new support network in the UK.  100 per cent of donations fund the items refugees need to get a career or home. Beam also provides a dedicated caseworker and matches them with jobs at companies including Arriva, Bupa, Pret and Securitas, as well as stable housing through a network of ethical landlords.  Kateryna from Kyiv The first person to benefit is a 33-year-old single mother from the Kyiv region in Ukraine, who fled to the UK with her young son. Before arriving, Kateryna was working as an English teacher and had dreams of becoming an interpreter.  After escaping to the UK through Poland, she’s now living with a host family in Enfield, North London. With Beam’s support, she fundraised £1,683 from 63 strangers to pay for a diploma, travel costs and work clothes. She has since landed a job working in administration for a medical centre in central London. On her days off, she works part-time as an interpreter while also studying for her diploma. She said: “My purpose was to become independent, like I was before the war happened. I’m now an administrator at a medical centre. I’m really happy to have this opportunity to grow. Thank you from all my heart.” Alex Stephany, founder and CEO of Beam said: “Over the past six months, we’ve seen a huge desire from the British public to support refugees coming over from Ukraine. We’re now pooling that community spirit into Beam, where you can quickly donate and send encouraging messages to Ukrainian refugees resettling in the UK. We’re excited to bring Beam’s technology to hundreds of refugees and empower them to secure stable jobs and housing for the long-term.” Launched in 2017, Beam has already supported over 1,000 homeless people into jobs and homes. Now, with a growing number of Ukrainian refugees becoming homeless, the start-up is looking to make another huge positive impact by using tech to help refugees access jobs and homes.  About Beam Launched in 2017, Beam is a tech for good social enterprise creating equality of opportunity at scale. Working in partnership with registered charities and local authorities, Beam is helping hundreds of homeless people and refugees to gain work in sectors facing critical skills shortages, and move into stable housing. Beam has amassed a giving base of more than 25,000 supporters, who between them have donated over £3.4m to support 1000+ people into stable jobs and homes.  beam.org

30 Aug

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3 min

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800 careers transformed: On Purpose develops leaders who help transform the economy

On Purpose, an organisation that develops a new generation of leaders to drive transformational change, has now helped over 800 people transition to impact-driven careers. Founded in London in 2010, On Purpose works towards a world in which organisations put purpose before profit, thereby creating an economy that serves everyone, whilst regenerating the planet. To make this happen, the social enterprise believes a fundamental shift is required, led by people who transform the organisations in which they work. On Purpose helps develop these leaders and increases the capacity of all sectors to move to a regenerative future through its Associate Programme. Now run in London, Paris and Berlin, the one-year, full-time programme for high-potential mid-career talent, brings together two six-month purpose-driven and paid work placements in a wide range of organisations, alongside half day a week of training, fortnightly mentoring, and quarterly coaching. The impact the Associate Programme has had on participants as well as the organisations they work in during and after the programme, has been significant. After completing the programme, 95% of Associates said they were more confident leading change. Fellows have gone on to take roles in all parts of the system, including a former Geography Teacher now the CEO of Hubbub, a former Consultant now Managing Director of Divine Chocolate, and a former Marketer at Google, now Head of Europe for Terra.Do. Some Fellows also go on to start up organisations, such as Breadwinners, the award-winning social enterprise, which supports refugees and young people seeking asylum into employment through artisan baked goods. Furthermore, as of July 2022, On Purpose London has worked with more than 200 purpose-driven organisations in the UK alone and has built a community of over 1000 people. On Purpose Founder and CEO Tom Rippin said: “Ultimately, the economy will change when organisations change, and organisation change when people change. We are changing people one at a time. Wherever our On Purpose Fellows choose to continue their careers after the programme, they will continue learning, they will change the organisations they work in, and they will "infect" others with the ideas of a transformed future they carry within themselves.” Applications for the April 2023 cohort of the On Purpose Associate Programme are opening soon. Register your interest and be the first to know when applications open in September. onpurpose.org

26 Aug

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2 min

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