BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
LEARN MORE
Big Issue Invest

Why social investment needs diversity

From our recent experience we have found small changes in approach can lead to significant gains when it comes to diversity and social investment

Over the past eighteen months we have spent a lot of time thinking and talking about diversity in the social investment eco-system. It’s an issue that comes up regularly. We want to be inclusive and give people a hand up. This is a core part of The Big Issue’s ethos. However, diversity is also central to our business case. We need diversity as it means reaching more social enterprises, increasing social impact, and it helps build a sustainable business model.

It can seem strange that diversity is actually a challenge for the social investment sector. Our latest data shows we are improving in terms of the diversity of our investments – across sectors, regionally, income models and gender balance. Reflecting on this, a number of reasons come to mind.

Staffing

Our team is multi-ethnic and drawn from a range of backgrounds. The professional backgrounds of the individuals on our team is changing. We’ve become less financial services focused and more people focused. We aim to recruit those who have worked in the social sector and had varied careers. With this approach comes different perspectives and attitudes especially to risk and engagement. We are more reflective of the people in
the social enterprises we want to engage with.

Risk

What can be perceived as barriers to investment by people not familiar with the social sector are not really barriers. Grant income models, a focus on impact, lack of resources, change/uncertainty and organisational stretch are not barriers just features of organisations we’ve come across. Often we find that the right people make the unworkable work.

Being Open

We are working more and more with support organisations, networks and sectors not historically linked to social investment. Many of our most recent investments are to organisations that are new to social investment. They did not immediately see social investment as a route for them. A recent example of this is the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, in Tottenham, London.

To grow the social investment market? Increase diversity. From our recent experience we have found small changes in approach can lead to significant gains.

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Social investment arm of the Big Issue Group opens up applications for second cohort of social enterprises in London  
Press Release

Social investment arm of the Big Issue Group opens up applications for second cohort of social enterprises in London  

Mark Porter is announced as new Chair of Big Issue Invest 
Big Issue Invest CEO, Danyal Sattar with Mark Porter, newly appointed Chair of Big Issue Invest
Press Release

Mark Porter is announced as new Chair of Big Issue Invest 

How a school for kids with complex educational needs is changing lives: 'These kids can thrive'
Big Issue Invest

How a school for kids with complex educational needs is changing lives: 'These kids can thrive'

Big Issue Invest calls for applications from social ventures and charities across England from its £15M Impact Loans England programme
Press Release

Big Issue Invest calls for applications from social ventures and charities across England from its £15M Impact Loans England programme

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know