BIG Society Capital was launched in the first week of April. The new institution has £600million of funding behind it, to help charities and other social enterprises.
There are well-established routes by which a business can obtain investment, so that it can finance growth and expand its operations.
Big Society Capital (BSC) will apply the same ideas in the social investment market, blending financial return with positive social impact. It is envisaged that a flow of capital into the social sector will help to improve people’s lives.
The four largest high street banks (Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS) are providing £200m in capital. The remaining £400m will come from bank accounts which have lain dormant for more than 15 years.
Social investment is designed to create a more resilient and sustainable sector, so that it can provide innovative solutions to social problems. BSC will be an enabler, so that charities and other bodies can go to it with their plans and seek finance. Initially, the Big Lottery is setting up an interim investment committee, as BSC gets up and running.
Charities and other social organisations have been saying for some time that they have found it hard to gain access to sources of long-term finances. These bodies can present a business model for development to BSC and seek backing to put their ideas into action.
The BSC group is independent from government and the investment committee will operate impartially.
It is not a grant-making body and will only make investments. However, it is working closely with bodies that do make grants.
BSC also has the task of acting as a champion for social investment, whether this is with those who develop policy, investors, sector stakeholders or with members of the general public.
MP for Beaconsfield