Press Release

Social investment fund tackling inequality backed by Macquarie Group Foundation and BD Giving

New fund will lend to charities and businesses that help alleviate poverty in the UK and is now open for applications

The Growth Impact Fund, developed by Big Issue Invest and UnLtd, announces its second close at £1.75m

Today (Tuesday 17th October) an innovative social impact investment fund aiming to reach diverse-led Social Purpose Organisations has received £1.5m from the Macquarie Group Foundation, which drives social impact work for Macquarie Group and £250k from Barking and Dagenham Giving (BD Giving), a community-led impact investment fund.

The news comes as the fund confirmed its second close and provided a further £500,000 in investment to two social purpose organisations, taking the Fund’s total investments made to £1m.


The Growth Impact Fund is a targeted £25m evergreen fund, investing in early and growth stage organisations led by underserved entrepreneurs, developed by Big Issue Invest (BIIFM) and UnLtd: The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

Before COVID, Social Enterprise UK’s State of Social Enterprise 2019 survey found that Black and ethnic minority-led social enterprises were applying for and receiving finance at just one quarter the level for the rest of the social enterprise sector[1]. Growth Impact Fund is working to address the barriers these (and other) underserved entrepreneurs face and give them access to capital and this second close means that they will be able to reach more of these impactful entrepreneurs.

In its latest round of fundraising GIF attracted investment from Macquarie, which was attracted by the combination of deploying funds in a meaningful and structured way to social entrepreneurs with the least access to funding, and a realistic investment return.

They also received investment from BD Giving, who are working to celebrate social entrepreneurs in Barking and Dagenham in London and were interested in the way that they could partner with GIF to develop a local pipeline.

Attracting two such different funders into the second close reveals how many different organisations identify with its ambitions are of tackling inequality, both in access to capital and in the UK more broadly. 

Susan Clear, Director of Social Impact Investing for the Macquarie Group Foundation said: “This is the first social impact investment the Foundation is making in the UK and demonstrates the expanding impact of our community efforts in this market.  With a focus on investing in organisations led by underserved entrepreneurs, the Growth Impact Fund aligns with the Foundation’s mission to drive social impact work for Macquarie, and support our people, businesses and communities to build a better future.”

“We always knew that impact was as important as return” said Irina, Barking and Dagenham resident and Community Steering Group member. “When we had about twenty investment proposals to consider, we started to realise that the potential for learning and the relationship we could build were more important than we had initially thought. We chose Growth Impact Fund for our community because the investment felt more like a partnership.”

Sarah Faber, Investment Director at Big Issue Invest, said: “It’s a testament to the design and work behind the fund that we have attracted support from such varied funders from a global organisation like Macquarie to a local community organisation such as Barking and Dagenham Giving. Both funders care about the change we are looking to achieve and are keen to learn from our work.”

Mathu Jeyaloganathan, Head of Investment at UnLtd, said: “Attracting investment from Macquarie and BD Giving is a significant achievement for the Growth Impact Fund. We are excited to be working with them in the future to support our enterprises.”

The Fund has made a £250,000 investment in Lightning Reach, a platform that makes it easy for people to find and apply for a wide range of personalised support in one place. To date, Lightning Reach has facilitated over £6m in grants to individuals in need of financial assistance and registered over 60,000 users.

Almost £260,000 was invested in chocolate company Harry Specters, which provides paid employment, work experience and training opportunities for young autistic people. Founded in 2011, the company now employs 12 Neurodiverse individuals and has provided over two hundred autistic people with free training and work experience.

Social enterprises interested in the Growth Impact Fund can visit growthimpactfund.org.uk to learn more and register their interest or email enquiriesGIF@bigissueinvest.com.


[1] Social Enterprise UK, Capitalism in Crisis?, September 2019

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