News story

New Social Investment Awards honour trailblazing social financiers

The first ever UK Social Investment Awards celebrate investors who support social enterprises and charities to grow and remain sustainable.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Winners of the Social Investment Awards 2014 with Martin Lewis.
Winners of the Social Investment Awards 2014 with Martin Lewis.

Investments that help to address complex problems, from reducing environmental waste to beating cancer, have been honoured at the UK’s first ever Social Investment Awards. The awards are backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and were hosted by Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis.

Run by the Cabinet Office and RBS, the awards aim to inspire other investors to back charities and social enterprises so they can continue making a big difference to millions of lives across the UK.

The 5 winning organisations from the shortlist of 15 range from Europe’s leading sustainable bank to a fund which allowed Manchester University to raise investment to build a cancer research facility.

The winners

Investor Access Award: Triodos Bank

This award celebrates those who aim to create a market that caters to every potential investor.

Triodos Bank is the leading sustainable bank in Europe with over 30,000 UK retail customers. It aims to make it easier to become a social investor by offering a range of tailored products that meet investors’ needs.

The Global Impact Award: The Omidyar Network

This award celebrates those who are doing the most to help unlock the potential of social investment globally.

The Omidyar Network plays a leading role in developing common standards to measure financial and social returns. It has helped to secure a commitment of over £125 million to the Global Innovation Fund which is focused upon addressing global development challenges.

The Community Impact Award: The Key Fund

This award is a celebration of organisations that use social investment to maximise their impact upon local communities.

The Key Fund is the largest regionally based social investor in England. It has invested over £33 million in 2,200 organisations, including the regeneration of Unity Hall to create a community benefit cooperative. It has also invested in Care and Share Associates, an innovative franchise for the care sector that now has an £8 million turnover and 550 employee-owners.

The Investment Readiness Award: The Big Venture Challenge

This award celebrates the work of those who are doing most to support social entrepreneurs as they seek investment or compete for public and private sector contracts.

The Big Venture Challenge, delivered by UnLtd, works with a range of specialist partners, to provide tailored support to early-stage social entrepreneurs. It has supported organisations like Oomph, a social enterprise that provides health and well-being classes for the elderly in over 500 care homes across the UK.

The New Markets Award: Threadneedle & Big Issue Invest - UK Social Bond Fund

This award is a celebration of the innovators in the market and those who are building the pipeline of investment to support organisations that work to address social issues.

Warwickshire County Council have been the most recent investor in the Fund, investing over £30 million. The fund allocated £11.3 million for a project to construct or refurbish social housing.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Social investment can be one of the greatest forces for social change on the planet. Whether it is reducing re-offending, tackling youth unemployment or finding loving homes for the hardest to place children in care, by using the power of finance we can get to grips with some of the most difficult social problems that have frustrated governments around the world for generations. On behalf of the whole country I want to thank everyone attending tonight’s event for what you are doing and for the social impact you are helping to deliver.

Sir Philip Hampton, Chairman of RBS said:

These awards recognise some of the true pioneers of social investment in the UK today. These organisations can play an important role supporting the UK economy, and local communities up and down the UK. We’re proud to have supported the development of social investment for the last 15 years, and these awards demonstrate our continued commitment to working closely with the sector.

Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis said:

There are many people who hope for more than just profit from their investments, they want to feel good about what they’re doing too. Social investments allow people to do that – to put money into projects that support social change. Therefore it’s important to support the promotion of those opportunities, so people realise it is a realistic option available to them. I would like to congratulate all of the winners and nominees.

Growing the social investment market

The awards show that the social investment market is becoming more mainstream. A range of new tools and products make it easier for people and organisations to invest their money into businesses that use profit for purpose.

A new YouGov poll shows that there is a growing appetite from both individuals and organisations to invest their money into ventures that offer social returns. The survey, carried out in August for the Cabinet Office, shows that 1 in 5 people would:

  • choose investments which offer a lower financial return but have a positive social impact
  • be more likely to invest in a socially responsible savings product if they were available in High Street banks

Social investment helps organisations to make a vital impact both societally and economically. Around 40% of social enterprises operate in the most deprived communities in the UK and social enterprises contribute £55 billion to the UK economy.

Refresh, in Doncaster, recycles pre-owned furniture and household goods. It reduces waste and has provided 79 work placements for the long term unemployed and 11 placements for ex-offenders. Investment from award-winners, The Key Fund, has enabled Refresh to amplify its positive impact in their local community.

Published 28 October 2014