Social Impact Investing


In This Video, Simon Brown, Chartered financial planner and Dan Lefkovitz from Morningstar discuss impact investing. We then hear from Resonance about their West Midlands social investment tax relief (SITR) fund and some of the social enterprises that they invest in.

Simon Brown, Chartered Financial Planner:

Where clients are prepared to accept a lower return but higher impact, then social impact investments can be considered.

Dan Lefkovitz, Strategist at Morningstar-

Impact investing is actually explicitly seeking out to affect some sort of societal change along with seeking a financial return. People call it the double bottom line. These might be investments in education, or housing, perhaps in water, that are return seeking but also explicitly aimed at changing the world.

Simon Brown:

Social impact investments are measured both in financial terms and specific impact terms, such as the number of homeless or ex-offenders that are still employed six months after the program. Charities request donations to solve old problems in old ways. Social enterprises raise money from investors to provide a financial return but also to solve old problems in new ways.

Social impact investment is often combined with charitable giving or philanthropy, where you give money away with no expectation of a financial return.

The next section of the video is about the Resonance West Midlands social investment tax relief (SITR) fund. We hear from some of the enterprises that the fund is supporting.

Grace England, Investment manager at Resonance:

We're so excited to be developing the resonance West Midlands SITR fund in an area where we can see there is so much potential to dismantle poverty through social enterprise.

Liz Armstrong, CEO of Better Pathways:

Better Pathways is a mental health charity who’s been established in Birmingham for over 50 years. We deliver employment, volunteering and work experience opportunities. And we also incorporate five social enterprises into our charitable business: Park lane garden centre, where we are today, textiles in Digbeth, packing and assembly services in Digbeth, Express Signs in Solihull and Garden services which is based here. We very much believe that employment is part of recovery, so everything that we do with those individuals is geared not only to help them recover but also to get them back into the communities that they live and work in.

These social enterprises are set up to provide voluntary and work experience to help to fill in CV gaps, but also to build confidence and self-motivation.

Michael Rafferty, team leader, Better Pathways:

A lot has happened in my life, so I found out about this place and I self-referred myself here. It has given me hope for the future that I can be a productive part of society even though I’ve got mental health problems.

Liz Armstrong:

We’re looking for social investment to be able to help us to branch out our textile business. The investment would help us to become self-sustaining, it would help us to grow our social enterprises to be able to help more people in communities by giving them employment and volunteering opportunities.

Mel Ellis, Challenge Academy:

Challenge Academy is all about trying to engage [young] people in active outdoor learning. Whether it be on a high ropes course, whether it be just working outside trying to get fit and healthy or whether doing outdoor-based problem-solving activities.

The people that we support here is a varied range. Of course, mainstream schools, colleges come for their big enrichment days but also we support NEETS, Pupil Referral Units, specialist groups where they have barriers to their education and training. But we also go out, our mobile outreach with people that can’t get here for whatever reason. We can go out to them so we’ve done a deal of work in prisons where we actually work with youth offenders and prisoners with our mobile kit to get them to work together. They come out here, we should see their confidence, we see their resilience, we see how they support each other and we try to tease out from that how that can be transferable to other aspects of their lives.

We want to further develop our facility here. We need classroom space here so we can run courses. We want to develop other outdoor adventurous activity on site here but we also want to develop out mobile outreach provision. We want to actually provide accessible adventure, challenge, learning and fun for the whole community.

Richard Beard, CEO, Jericho Foundation:

So today 85% of Jericho’s income comes from the trading activity of our social enterprise businesses there. They are all based in Birmingham. The largest is a construction business, them we’ve got a landscaping and ground maintenance business, we’ve got catering, we’ve got cleaning, we’ve got a recycling business, we’ve got the ReUsers.

There are eight social enterprises because we want to offer the widest possible choice of vocational areas to the clients that come to us. They all operate in a broadly similar way, they sell commercial goods, products and services into the normal marketplace, but they exist primarily to act as this platform through which we can provide supported employment, volunteering opportunities, work experience, apprenticeships, all with wrap around personal development support to then help people progress into the mainstream world of work elsewhere. There are many, many great projects across the city delivering social change in an economically sustainable fashion. In order for them to grow and develop they need cash, they need investment, they need people to get behind them.

Simon Brown:

There are many ways we help clients go from success to significance, which helps them create a balance between life, money and society.