UnLtd, Big Issue Invest and learning partner Shift announce the Growth Impact Fund

Mathu Jeyaloganathan

Head of Investment

31st May 2022

9:00am

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Image description: Cecil Adjalo, Chief Operating Officer at Foundervine, smiles and speaks with a colleague in a co-working space.

Big Issue Invest (BII), UnLtd and learning partner Shift are proud to announce the Growth Impact Fund, a new potential £25M social investment fund designed to level the social investment playing field.   

At UnLtd we knew that social investment needed a radical redesign, and came together with BII and Shift to facilitate change within the space. Over the past five years we have been working to create open, transparent and jargon-free investment opportunities.  
 
Our new organisational strategy and the Growth Impact Fund is the result of that work, and marks the next stage in our journey. It is supported by professional investors including the Bank of America and Access Foundation.  

The Growth Impact Fund has been developed with social entrepreneurs of diverse genders, ethnicities, ages, and those with disabilities, who have helped to design this social investment fund for organisations working to address inequalities.   
 
The fund will initially offer investments between £50k - £1.5 million. The Growth Impact Fund has been designed to support founders from underrepresented backgrounds, and will ringfence a minimum of 50% of investment for them.  

The Growth Impact Fund has a unique approach to making social investment work better for social businesses. 

The fund will:  

  • Provide investees with the option of patient, flexible capital, or alternative options, including 70% of funding invested through equity and quasi-equity products.  

  • Provide grant funded wrap-around support across the investment process (from early-stage enterprises to established organisations, and pre-investment to post investment)  

  • Commit to ensuring the team, management, and governance of the fund are representative of the entrepreneurs the fund looks to support. 

Every investee on the portfolio will have access to grants and non-financial help to grow their social business and social impact. Investees can use the support for needs such as caring responsibilities, accessibility support, consultancy, or professional development.  

Social entrepreneurs are represented across the fund’s Advisory Board and Investment Committee, bringing their lived experience and expertise to making decisions for their peers. Their voices will hold the fund to account in being inclusive, accessible, fit for purpose, and meeting the needs of diverse founding teams.   

This fund is an opportunity to rethink how we support, provide investment to and work in partnership with underserved leaders and organisations. A decade of working in the social investment sector has shown me that this is really needed.  
 
Social investment is not just investment in ‘good’ projects, it’s investing in impactful people and social businesses that disrupt the status quo in all its forms – leadership, governance, delivery, and more. That includes how organisations resource and staff the funding, not just how the investees operate.  
 
With the Growth Impact Fund, we don’t just want to show it can be done, but influence others to change their practices, implement reform and learn from our efforts. 

Sara Redford, the chair of the Investment Advisory Committee for the Growth Impact Fund, said, “I've seen first-hand the positive impact of social investment on society and the frustrations of both funders and social businesses with parts of the process. The Growth Impact Fund addresses these frustrations by tackling the biases that can limit diverse-led organisations.  
 
Supported by an all-female investment advisory committee of social entrepreneurs and investors, the Growth Impact Fund will also share learnings with the social investment sector, and help wedge doors open for more funds and entrepreneurs to follow.” 

Social enterprises interested in the Growth Impact Fund can visit growthimpactfund.org.uk to learn more and register their interest.  

Social investment organisations are welcome to also reach out with any queries or curiosities enquiriesGIF@bigissueinvest.com.

Big Issue Invest Fund Management (BIIFM) is the fund manager for the Growth Impact Fund, and the fund is addressed to professional investors only. Capital at Risk. BIIFM Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) FRN 610618. 

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