Investment for Social Enterprises, funded by Social Enterprises.

What makes three Social Enterprises (SE) decide to work together to invest in other social organisations?

That was the critical question discussed at the Big Issue Invest event - “Bigger Together” - held in central Manchester at the beginning of March. The event aimed to drum up interest amongst North West Social Enterprises’ in the next round of investment funding from Big Issue Invest’s Corporate Social Venturing Programme.

As major investment partners Fusion21, along with First Ark, are working with Big Issue Invest to promote the programme to North West based social enterprises. The venue, a peaceful meeting space in the heart of Manchester, became a frenzy of conversations between those just starting out and [social] organisations who have "been there, done that" and wanted to share their experiences. Accessing investment instead of grant funding can be a daunting prospect for new SEs but can help create a sustainable business that can compete with private sector to offer valued services.  

It was really useful for all attendees to hear from those currently running such businesses outlining what the pitfalls, benefits and passions are while working and contributing in the social economy (pictured). Social businesses have a heart according to the recent Social Enterprise Mark campaign and to see that passion ebbing across the room was very inspiring.

The answer to the question on what makes the three partners invest is really quite simple.  They believe in giving organisations a "hand up, not a hand out” to help them take the next step on their journey.

This helps to grow the social economy, which in turn helps to benefit people and their communities.   Having that ethos as the number one business objective is the strongest driver in any social business becoming and remaining a success.

Those organisations wanting to take advantage of this unique funding offer should visit http://bigissueinvest.com/

I know the Big Issue Invest initiative works as Fusion21 only recently hosted the company we are mentoring who came through the initial round of funding, namely Ayudante CIC. (www.ayudante.co.uk).  We are providing direct Marketing, Financial and Social Value advice to their operations and we look forward to moving forward with them.  

Mark Chadwick, Head of Business Improvement, Fusion21.