>>Back arrow....Group

BWC and social investment

We have been interested in social investment since the Charity Commission updated its guidance on Charities and Investment Matters in 2011 (known as CC14). This allowed charities, for the first time, to invest their funds to achieve a social impact as well as a financial return - the definition of social investment - rather than for financial return alone.

Most of our income comes from investments managed for us to produce the best total financial return within an acceptable level of risk. The money generated is spent on furthering our charitable aims - the relief of sickness and poverty, and the advancement of health. Most funding organisations’ portfolios are managed in this way, but it means that our funds could be invested in organisations with activities far removed from our objectives.

We have therefore, since 2013, set aside funds to be used specifically for social investment. This has allowed us to achieve a financial return at the same time as directly furthering our aims and increasing our overall social impact.

Our approach

  • Our investment policy

    We have evolved the following approach to enable us to achieve a balance between risk and return, and between financial return and social impact:

    • Loan (unsecured or secured) or equity investment
    • Between £50k and £125k
    • Health, wellbeing or poverty sectors
    • We prefer to finance development, rather than complete start-ups
  • Our investment criteria

    If you're looking for funding for your social enterprise, please make sure that you can demonstrate the following before contacting us to see if we can help:

    • Base and operations in the UK
    • Social as well as financial aims
    • Clearly articulated social impact, related to our objectives
    • Legal structure: one of the social forms of governance, or a private company with a social purpose
    • A proven concept, with a coherent and credible business plan.
  • Our social investment portfolio

    To date we have made seven investments: 

    A bond issued by Greenwich Leisure Ltd; GLL manages community sports and leisure facilities for the health and educational benefits of all, particularly disadvantaged groups.

    A fund managed by Big Issue Invest - Social Enterprise Investment Fund II; its mission is to tackle poverty and create opportunity by financing the growth of sustainable social enterprises.

    Equity investment, initially in the form of a convertible loan, to Thrive, a start-up company which provides simple and affordable access to scientifically proven mental health treatments via mobile, tablet or online.

    A fund managed by Bridges Ventures – Evergreen Holdings. This aims to provide ‘patient’ capital for developing social enterprises, whether becoming social, moving into employee-ownership, spinning out of the public sector or simply scaling up.

    Equity investment in Enterobiotix, a start-up biotechnology company focused on using the body’s own microorganisms to prevent and treat debilitating infections and diseases.

    A fund aiming to tackle the Poverty Premium. People in poverty or on low incomes often pay more for the same products or services than people who are better off financially. This is called the Poverty Premium – the extra cost of being poor. The Fair By Design Fund supports innovative market solutions by investing debt and equity into early and later stage ventures.

    Equity investment in Tonic Housing, which is building the UK’s first extra care retirement community with a distinct LGBT+ identity. Older LGBT+ people, most particularly those with the greatest social needs and from the poorest backgrounds, fear and experience a high degree of social isolation and discrimination.