It’s hard to start a reflection on 2021 without mentioning how tough this year has been for so many. And it has. But there’s enough negativity swirling around at the moment – I’d like to focus on the swift response, the social enterprises that have stepped up, the social enterprises that have continued solving society’s biggest and most entrenched problems.
And that’s where we come in. Our job at Big Issue Invest is to support organisations that make a difference make a bigger difference (deeper and/or wider). On that metric, this year has been a resounding success and gives me huge hope for the future.
Our £24m Social Enterprise Investment Fund II is very close to being fully committed, after a year of exciting new growth-focused investment into Homes for Good, Sustainable Ventures and a third to be announced early next year (watch this space!).
I mentioned social enterprises that have stepped up and those working on society’s biggest problems. There can’t be many better examples than Sustainable Ventures in the wake of COP26.
Sustainable Ventures is the largest Climate Tech ecosystem in Europe and hosts an ever-growing community of social and sustainable businesses in their workspaces. BII, through our Lending team, has supported them across multiple space acquisitions and refurbishments. SEIF II then invested £3.4m to enable Sustainable Ventures to take on two floors in County Hall. This quite stunning building directly opposite Parliament across the Thames, will now host the innovation and entrepreneurship to respond to the climate crisis that those politicians on the other side of the river are crying out for. There’s the response!
We back human potential. Four simple words that encapsulate why we exist. Four simple words that keep us focused on our 5-year target to support investees to reach over 10 million customers across the UK and promote the impact investing sector. Four simple words that headline a new strategy for us at BII but builds on what the organisation has been living and breathing for over a decade.