Social investment is an emerging area in funding for third sector activity in the UK. Following a recent roundtable meeting with a range of stakeholders and a discussion at our Scotland Committee, BIG in Scotland has developed a plan to move forward in this area.
There are three areas of activity that we will focus on over the next year:
- We will help create a stronger pipeline of investible ideas and organisations ready to receive social investment
- We will seek to increase the profile of community based models of social investment that can stimulate new investment for local initiatives, with a particular interest here in the community shares model
- We will take action to improve the knowledge base about social investment and market opportunities in Scotland.
We will undertake development work on the first two areas to refine our approach, and we hope to have plans in place by Spring 2013. On the third issue of the knowledge base, we will commission research in this area.
We have thought about what’s needed, and about our own skills and role, and we hope these focussed and specific measures will make a useful contribution to the development of the social investment landscape in Scotland. While this doesn’t mean that we will not see a need for action or investment in other ways in the future, in the next year our focus will be on these practical, and in the main ‘demand-side’ measures.
Finally, we’ve also been particularly careful to shape these plans to complement what others, especially the Scottish Government, are already doing. We are working closely and collaboratively with the Third Sector team on this and have a strong sense of how our proposals will add value to existing and planned provision such as Just Enterprise and the Enterprise Growth Fund.
We think significant funding from the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland can make a difference here, supporting the development and growth of organisations with a revenue generating model and the potential to secure investment that is often already available but not being accessed. And along with others we hope that across the piece in Scotland we are building a much stronger overall offer of support and investment to help achieve the kinds of positive changes and outcomes we want to see for people and communities.