Big Issue Invest reports close to £40 million of investment into social enterprises and charities at time of crisis
Big Issue Invest (BII) has launched its 2020-2021 Impact Report revealing that the social investment arm of The Big Issue, supported 184 social enterprises across the UK with £39.7 million Assets Under Management (AUM) at March 2021.
The report detailed how, in turn, those 184 social enterprises were able to support over 1.16 million customers across the UK in the same period.
The organisation reported that, of BII’s total investment portfolio, over 62% of the 184 investees of the past year are based in areas of high deprivation, where capital can have the greatest social and economic benefits, including London, the North East and North West. 20% of BII’s total portfolio is invested into organisations directly tackling inequality in the UK in order to improve health, education and job outcomes in deprived areas.
BII’s investments in Scotland, the North East, East Midlands and the East of England have significantly increased during the period. For example, £5 million was invested in Scotland- based social ventures with a major investment in the social lettings agency Homes For Good. £1.7 million of investment was made into social enterprises in the East of England, with a change in value percentage of 667%.
Of the total number of investments, 16% support people living in poverty and/or financial exclusion, 11% support people living in precarious housing or who are homeless, 12% support vulnerable young people, 11% support people experiencing unemployment and 9% support people with mental health needs and conditions.
The top five Sustainable Development Goals contributed to by BII’s investees were: Good Health and Wellbeing (31%), Decent Work and Economic Growth (17.4%), Sustainable Cities and Communities (16.3%), Quality Education (10.3%) and Reduced Inequalities (8.2%).
The report showed that 9,490 people are employed by BII’s investees across the UK and provide 6,900 volunteering opportunities for people in local communities. It also revealed that 76% of investees focused their impact at a local rather than national level.
The report detailed BII’s support of social enterprises during the pandemic. BII provided £3.2 million of grants to 118 grantees across England as part of the National Lottery Community Fund’s ‘Social Enterprise Support Fund’ and supported the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund to disburse £5.5 million through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. It also provided 61% investees with repayment holidays. Over 50% of BII’s investees managed to grow or maintain their work during the Pandemic.
The report also laid out the foundations of the new BII strategy: We Back Human Potential. BII’s new strategy, which includes an ambitious target to increase the assets under BII management and advisory to over £500 million by 2030.
Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “In the past year, we have been inspired by the way that social enterprises and charities across the UK have responded to the unprecedented challenges faced by their communities whilst also overcoming challenges within their organisations. I am proud of the Big Issue Invest team who have worked tirelessly in supporting our investees to keep the lights on, adapt to new operating environments and to continue to deliver impact to their customers.
“We were part of two major sector responses to the pandemic: the Social Enterprise Support Fund and the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund. On top of this, we continued to support over 180 organisations with £39.7 million of investment. During this period, we have launched a brand new strategy as an impact investor. Driving everything we do, we will champion impact-first investing; we will push for social equality and we will provide a broader range of support that is ‘more than money’.
“Over the last 12 months, BII has continued to prioritise improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our investees for their engagement on this issue, as well as our many partners and the networks in the sector who continue to push the social investment and social sectors to be more inclusive and accessible to social purpose organisations and the wider communities they support.”