Last week I had the opportunity to meet, listen and participate in conversation with other investors, investees and parties interested in social investment.
The week started with The Gathering in Leicester and ended with Responsible Finance in Liverpool, both brought together investors to discuss how they work, how they want to develop, what they believe is important to them, and the changes they see ahead. Grant funding providers listening to the impact their investment makes; commissioners sharing innovative working methods; discussions about impact investment; how fintech might change the way we work; philanthropic versus commercial funds; how investors can sustain themselves…in short, endless learning!
Social investment is relatively new to me compared to many of the ‘old hands’ attending the events. But there was something for everyone at both. I was inspired by discussions around how we create a better offering for VCSEs and charities, the benefits of collaboration, and appreciated the time dedicated to thinking about how we treat each other inside and outside our organisations.
My highlights in relation to these topics included listening to what investees really think about applying for investment, how we can make this process a better one for them, and why we should continue to review our practices.
And diversity in social investment; are we reaching everyone? If not, why not? What about diversity within the social investment sector, are we singing from the same hymn sheet?
There was also the opportunity to hear from champions who are finding innovative ways to support the services once provided by local authorities, NHS or other public agencies, many of which are now available via VCSEs and charities.