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Big Issue draws big names to £25m fund to help marginalised people become entrepreneurs

Bank of America and Access (the Foundation for Social Investment) have joined the Growth Impact Fund, a potential £25m pot being created by Big Issue Invest, UnLtd, and Shift.

Big names have come on board as backers of a new £25m fund to help people from marginalised backgrounds become entrepreneurs.

The news comes after a major report found social investment in the UK has major issues with race.

“Social investment continues to have a serious problem with inclusion and equity particularly, although not exclusively, in relation to race,” found a report led by Lord Victor Adebowale.

Now Bank of America and Access (the Foundation for Social Investment) have joined the Growth Impact Fund, a potential £25m pot being created by Big Issue Invest, UnLtd, and Shift in a bid to reverse that trend.

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The fund has been in the works for the past 18 months, with social entrepreneurs from diverse genders, ethnicities, disability and age working together ahead of its launch later in 2022.

“The Adebowale report highlighted that the social investment sector has not done enough to prioritise the needs of social enterprises, and in particular that it has serious problems with race. This fund was created to address that,” said Mathu Jeyaloganathan, head of investment at UnLtd.

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Built around the needs of those historically locked out of social investment, at least half of the fund will go to leaders from underrepresented backgrounds.

Costs such as childcare and transport can put people off starting their own businesses. Part of the fund’s money will be used to support entrepreneurs themselves, through a grant pot.

And beyond funding diverse businesses, the fund itself will aim to be diverse – with the team managing the fund intended to be representative of the founders it is helping.

Jonny Page, Investment Director at Big Issue Invest, said: “Our fund is committed to tackling inequality across the UK by investing into leaders from underrepresented backgrounds, as we continue to back human potential as part of Big Issue Invest’s impact strategy.”

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