Ten years since Big Society Capital was established gives us a moment to reflect on our journey so far, celebrate achievements and recognise some of the people and organisations we have worked in partnership with along the way. As you’ll read throughout this review, much has been achieved since Big Society Capital’s doors opened in 2012 with our mission to improve lives through social impact investment.
Over the past decade, we have shown how ideas, capital and expertise can be brought together to build solutions to some of the many social challenges in the UK. Crucially, we’ve focused on how progress towards building a better society comes through working in partnership – across the public, private and social sectors.
More capital is now reaching social enterprises and charities, helping them tackle some of the most pressing social issues at scale. However, inequality and injustice is more apparent than ever, especially as we all respond to the devastating effects of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 180,000 households have been tipped into homelessness, while more than a quarter of UK children live in poverty (source). The need for social impact investment has never been greater.
We have big ambitions for the future. We think the opportunity we now have as a sector is bigger than at any other point in our existence; with investors, investees, national and local Government, and other partners increasingly seeing the potential of social impact investment. We have clear, proven examples where investment is delivering change at a meaningful scale on critical issues, from homelessness to financial exclusion to health and well-being.
We’ve worked with a huge number of partners along the way, including our shareholder banks, fund managers, co-investors and frontline impact makers. It’s impossible to mention them all here, but they know who they are, and I am hugely grateful to everyone who has been on the journey with us.
In this review, four key people who’ve played a significant part in the progress of social impact investment reflect on the advance that has been made in ten years, and also on how the market and attitudes have changed. Each of the four voices brings a unique perspective from within the ecosystem and helps to tell the story of growth.