UK’s First Social Impact Bond Fund Opens

The UK’s first Social Impact Bond was launched earlier this week by Bridges Ventures and Big Society Capital.

The first of its kind, the £14 million fund will invest in charities and social enterprises to deliver programmes designed to improve social outcomes in areas such as education, employment, housing and care for vulnerable young people and that will benefit society as a whole.

The Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund is now open. Charities and social enterprises based in the UK can apply for alternative finance can apply as long as they have:

  • A clear social mission.
  • A strong management team.
  • The ability to deliver highly impactful social interventions.
  • The ability to robustly monitor and proactively manage the social outcomes delivered by these programmes.

Each investment made by the fund will be up to £3 million to deliver an outcomes-funded intervention programme. (Please note that the fund does not offer grants or bank loans.)

These contracts can facilitate the funding of early-stage, preventive interventions which are more effective and cost-efficient than treating social issues after they have arisen.

Antony Ross, Partner and Head of Social Sector Funds at Bridges Ventures, said:

“We are delighted to be managing this pioneering fund, which we believe should play a catalytic role in the way social sector organisations are financed in the future. The fund will provide charities and social enterprises with a much needed sustainable source of capital and support, allowing them to focus on delivering crucial social outcomes-based programmes that will benefit society as a whole.”

Big Society Capital CEO Nick O’Donohoe said:

“This fund provides a new opportunity to invest in a professionally managed, diversified portfolio of payment-by-results contracts delivered by social sector organisations. Going forward, Bridges will be able to provide a unified voice for investors in the development of payment-by-results commissioning to help level the playing field for social sector organisations.”

Big Society Capital is a cornerstone investor in the fund. Further capital has been committed by the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund, which launched in 2008 and holds around £12 million; the Omidyar Network, the investment firm founded by Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar; and Panahpur, the social investment firm of the eponymous UK foundation.

Full details can be found on the Bridges Ventures website (opens new window).

Source: Bridges Ventures, 01/05/2013

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