In brief: Big Issue Invest raises £10m for social impact strategy

The impact manager has received backing from the likes of Big Society Capital and Greater Manchester Combined Authority to address social inequality in the UK.

British impact investor Big Issue Invest has raised almost £10 million (€11.5 million; $12.1 million) for its strategy targeting social impact in the UK, according to a statement.

Launched at the end of 2022 in collaboration with charitable foundation UnLtd, the Growth Impact Fund is an evergreen strategy seeking to raise £25 million to invest in UK entrepreneurs. Its LPs include Big Society Capital, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Bank of America.

“We’re looking for organisations which are working to reduce UK inequality and serve communities facing barriers,” investment director Sarah Faber told New Private Markets. “We believe that if those organisations are run by people from that community who face the same barriers, then the organisation will be more impactful and therefore more financially sustainable. These entrepreneurs are also likely to be underserved in UK investment generally and in mainstream capital markets.”

The statement also confirmed that the fund has invested in two new companies: Lightning Reach, which provides grants to those in need of financial assistance; and chocolate company Harry Specters, which provides employment and training for autistic people.

Faber confirmed that the strategy is seeking market rate returns. She added: “We really want this to be a proof of concept that other people can point to and think ‘Okay, we could do this’. Our overall investment thesis is that there’s these underserved entrepreneurs who haven’t thought about accessing investment, and it’s a huge amount of potential that’s been lost.”