We provide social enterprises and charities with appropriate funding, business skills support and market linkages. This blend of support is commonly referred to as “venture philanthropy” or “Investing for Impact”.
Our experience is that social enterprises and charities exhibit low and slow growth and therefore require long-term (7-12 year) flexible “impact first” financing tailored to their specific needs and potential.
Our funding is provided for the purpose of helping a social enterprises or charity achieve viable growth and impact, and is therefore most often used to recruit staff and build core capacity, upgrade key operational systems, and meet working capital needs.
We find it essential to take the time to understand the impact, business model, financing needs and legal status of each social enterprise and charity, and then work together in a collaborative manner to agree the most appropriate way to provide funding.
While we have no financial hurdle, we always seek to agree terms with each social enterprise and charity that balance affordability with the need for disciplined growth.
Typical financial instruments we consider include:
Business Skills Support
Achieving viable growth and impact is hard, and often associated with frequent pivot points that necessitate changes to the business plan.
We find it essential to take the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of any management team, and then work together in a collaborative manner to agree the priority areas in which we can add most “additionality” — typically selected from areas below:
We also draw on our extensive networks to help establish market linkages and potential partnerships with other stakeholders who can further support viable growth and impact. We always work in an open and collaborative partnership with social enterprises and charities in order to ensure we structure the most appropriate funding and skills support.
Our Key Learnings in Achieving Viable growth and Impact
It is about people
Execution capacity is critical, therefore committed, capable and experienced management teams with a focus on impact is essential
It requires appropriate funding
Funding must be structured to fit the specific needs of each organisation
It requires providing more than money
Business skills support and mentorship is critical for viable growth
Collaborate to structure appropriate funding
By working in partnership, we structure funding most appropriate to meet the specific needs of each organisation
It takes time
Social enterprises typically follow a “low and slow” growth path, so flexibility and patience is required
It takes persistence and flexibility
Innovative market-based solutions frequently encounter many “pivot points”