Fair by Design - Wagestream team with Peter Briffett.jpg

Fair by Design

Fund manager - Ascension Ventures

Fair By Design is a combined venture fund and campaign that aims to eradicate the extra cost of being poor

  • £490 Extra cost that low-income households pay each year to access basic goods and services compared to people who are financially better off
  • 347997 Number of people supported by Fair by Design
  • £11.7m Total reduction of the poverty premium so far

Challenge

A surprising unfairness is that people in the UK on the lowest incomes actually pay more to access basic goods and services compared to people who are better off financially. On average low-income households pay an extra £490 a year. This ‘poverty premium’ affects 1 in 5 households in the UK, costing them in total an extra £3.8bn a year. ​

Approach

After the Joseph Rowntree Foundation introduced us to this issue, Big Society Capital worked with them to design a programme aiming to eradicate the poverty premium by 2028. ​

Fair By Design (FDB) is a combined venture fund and campaign that aims to remove the extra cost of being poor. It does so by providing funding to grow new and scalable ventures to innovate in the market. The fund works through a multi-sector partnership, to deliver across four pillars :

  • The fund is managed by Ascension Ventures, who have a track record in both venture and impact ecosystems.
  • Barrow Cadbury campaigns to influence policy and regulation, as well as to build public support.
  • Toynbee Hall embeds the view of experts with lived experience into the investment process.
  • Comic Relief supports the team on roadshows, to build awareness of key innovations among regional decision-makers.​

Impact

The FBD Fund focuses on early-stage, highly scalable technology businesses reducing costs across four key sectors: energy, financial and digital inclusion, food and household, and insurance.