Pioneering Fund focused on supporting Social Enterprises and alleviating poverty releases final Impact Report

The Report shows that the Fund, which was the first managed by BII, has been pioneering finance for Social Enterprises over the last ten years – positively impacting over 550,000 people, supporting 21 Social Enterprises, through 25 investments, whilst delivering financial returns to all its investors

Big Issue Invest (BII), the investment arm of the Big Issue, has released the Social Enterprise Investment Fund (SEIF I) 2022/23 Final Impact Report, highlighting the success of the Fund in driving social and economic change for people affected by poverty in the UK.

Established in 2010, SEIF I has prioritised social impact over profits, while still delivering a financial return. SEIF I invested in organisations with innovative, socially-driven, and sustainable business models that improved the lives of the most disadvantaged individuals and communities.

By 2022, SEIF I had recovered all funds, with a return to investors, and had positively impacted over 550,000 individuals through the social enterprises it had invested in. The success of SEIF I and four successor funds, including the recently launched Growth Impact Fund, has established BII as a leading social investment intermediary in the UK.

SEIF I was a catalytic fund, demonstrating that there is a sizable market for social investment. The Report demonstrates the success of the Fund was driven by 5 key factors: financing for scale, taking a patient approach, driving innovation, meeting enterprise need through flexible finance and putting people first.

Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “Since the launch of this Fund, Big Issue Invest never deviated from its goal of finding ways to back social enterprises with the finance they need, to find enterprising solutions to poverty.

“As a social enterprise ourselves, we know how hard it is to grow and succeed as we live that every day in our own organisation. That keeps us on mission, on target. We know the goal and we don’t flinch from it. This, alongside the brilliant people steering it and the sheer persistence they showed, is what made this Fund a success.”

One of the Fund’s investees was Sandwell Community Caring Trust (SCCT), a charity providing support to people who need help to live independent and happy lives. They provide a range of residential and day support to 650 people across the West Midlands and Southwest (Torbay), including adults with profound disabilities and older people with dementia.

In April 2013, SCCT acquired Hall Green, a 62-bed residential care home in Sandwell, for £4.25 million. Unity Trust Bank was willing to provide SCCT with 75% of the funding required, provided they raised the additional funds elsewhere. BII invested £725,000, structured in two equal parts, which represented a 25% equity layer and was a deal enabler without which SCCT would have been unable to proceed with the acquisition.

BII’s flexible and patient approach to investing into purpose-led businesses is generating significant social impact and a financial return for investors. As of 31 May 2023, BII has had total commitments of over £51 million, making it one of the leading social impact investors in the UK. BII’s objective is to positively impact over 10 million people through its investments, delivering over 70% of these in areas of highest deprivation in the UK, and maintaining over 90% of the portfolio aligned to core solutions to poverty.

As an organisation, BII is committed to supporting the social enterprise sector to develop and grow, driving social and economic change for people in the UK affected by poverty. The SEIF I Final Impact Report highlights the need for continued growth in the social investment sector to provide suitable and adequate financing for social purpose organisations.

“I first encountered SEIF I as an investor. Over the years I came to walk alongside it, and it is a privilege for me to steward its final return of funds to investors,” says Danyal Sattar.

You can read the Impact Report in full here. If you are interested in applying for one of the other funds run by Big Issue Invest, please visit the website:

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