The Growth Impact Fund
In development since 2020, Big Issue Invest, UnLtd and Shift have partnered to create a new potential £25M fund designed to address the structural barriers surfaced from the commission. The Growth Impact Fund, launching imminently, will invest in 50- 60 ventures, focusing on diverse-led social enterprises tackling inequality in the UK.
The findings in Reclaiming the Future, have further deepened the understanding of, evidence for, and therefore our commitment to address the opportunity to support Founders and social purpose organisations that have to date been shut out from social investment.
We believe that the barriers will only be overcome by putting inclusion and equity at the heart of social investment; this requires us to rethink how we invest, who we invest with, and changing the products we provide to meet the long-term, flexible support that diverse, more early-stage social entrepreneurs need.
The Growth Impact Fund has been built by listening to and understanding diverse social enterprises. From its inception, this has included everything from detailed focus groups around the products that are needed and the terms they encompass, to short/quick surveys to validate outreach and branding strategies. This has been complemented by a small group of diverse-led social enterprises who have served as a critical friend and adviser along the way. UnLtd, Big Issue Invest (BII) and Shift have put social enterprises at the heart of this fund and re-designed every aspect of how the fund will be delivered to meet their needs.
Our fund is working to support diverse-led founders by: –
Committing to a fund that is about more than just investment – which is why we’ve brought together grant funded wrap-around support across the investment process (from early-stage enterprises to established organisations, and pre-investment to post investment) –
Acknowledging we can’t do this alone – we are partnering with a range of embedded networks who have trusting relationships with diverse-led social entrepreneurs
Designing new, genuinely flexible products – organisations have different product needs, with our products designed for flexibility and patience (no-one else is offering equity, debt, and revenue participation in the same fund that’s also evergreen)
Addressing sector representation head on– we have actively committed to ensuring that the team, management and governance of the fund are more representative of the Founders we’re looking to support. This is an ongoing journey. So far we have appointed an all female investment committee, assembled an impact advisory group and are overhauling recruitment practises for the delivery team.
While we believe this fund is a step in the right direction, we recognise that there are many things we still don’t know and won’t get right. We are determined to contribute to a sector wide effort to learn and are committed to being fully transparent as to what is working and what isn’t. We want to work with others to open up, grow and diversify the social investment sector in order to help address the widening social and economic inequities we are faced with.
If you’d like to discuss the fund or our approach to it, please get in touch with us by contacting:
Mathu Jeyaloganathan – firstname.lastname@example.org
Duncan Brown – email@example.com
Ben Tiplady – firstname.lastname@example.org