NEW PHASE OF UNLTD BIG VENTURE CHALLENGE OPENS FOR BUSINESS
Research shows that social ventures are considered sound financial investments.
We have launched a new phase of the Big Venture Challenge in partnership with The Big Lottery Fund. The Big Venture Challenge is an Award Campaign supporting ambitious, high potential, social entrepreneurs to raise investment and rapidly grow their ventures by providing them with access to business support, expert connections and matched funding.
The first round of the Big Venture Challenge enabled 12 businesses to secure £1.2m in investment – with two-thirds coming from private sector ‘angel’ investors who had never made a social investment before.
Starting in January 2013 and over the next three years, a total of £5m in new funding will be made available to 100 early stage social ventures with high growth potential. This funding will attract at least another £5m of new external investment into these companies.
To accompany the launch, we are also unveiling the results of research carried out among the participants and investors of the Big Venture Challenge in 2011 and 2012. The research found that the vast majority of private investors considered the social ventures they were backing to be sound financial investments – and not that they were in any way sacrificing financial return for social benefit. Research also indicated strongly that interventions that reduce risk for early stage social investors – such as the Big Venture Challenge – can be a significant catalyst for the social venture market.
Dan Lehner, our head of ventures, says: “To date, social investors have shied away from backing innovative start ups and early-stage social ventures – but with the Big Venture Challenge, all that’s now changed. We’ve shown that with the right support and our offer of matched funding, a range of investors are willing to back early stage social ventures – and expect commercial returns. That’s got to be good news for the long term sustainability and maturity of the sector.”
The new research is also being shared at the Good Deals conference, where we are hosting a debate on the revelations, motivations and complications of attracting commercial investment for social ventures.