Fast Social: News for the week beginning 15th July 2013



While not exactly the ‘hottest week since records began’ for the sector, here’s a recap on what happened in the social enterprise world whilst you were busy talking about the weather:

  • Scorchio: burning the fingers of #socent sceptics, this week the sector witnessed a wheelbarrow load of money tipped over its fence. This included £40m from the Big Lottery Fund to help develop the Social Impact Bond market, and £3.5m from the Cabinet Office to support organisations reduce re-offending. In unconnected but similar news, housing social enterprise Bristol Together also announced they were planning to raise £3m through a Social Impact Bond to also help ex-offenders. It’s getting hot in here!
  • Hot in the city! also this week a group of about 30 people got together to decide the principles of Impact Investing for everyone else in the whole world. Although gathering in Oxford, the principles are now referred to as ‘The London Principles’, and one can only imagine that they will have the same impact as the Cambridge rules of 1863, and in 150 years time people will be furiously debating the ‘offset rule’ and the use of ‘breadline technology’ in pubs up and down the country.
  • Flaming heck: the Big Issue has launched a new social enterprise in Australia, called Homes for Homes, exporting the ‘Big Society’ idea to encourage people to come together and tackle homelessness. Who knew anyone even used the BS concept any more – struth!
  • Weather warning: but before we all throw out our jumpers and pack away our coats, there were also some ‘weather warnings’ dished out this week:
    • A green warning – looking at social enterprises tackling homelessness, this new research report suggests that grant funding can actually have a detrimental effect on the sustainability of certain types of social enterprise. Best start saving up for a rainy day then!
    • An amber warning – in a new post as part of his mythbusting series, David Floyd dispels the myth that trading income is more sustainable than grants or donations by way of a great Llama analogy. Might want to think about building an ark!
    • A red warning – SROI guru Jeremy Nicholls wrote a great piece in The Pioneers Post this week, examining the recent proclamation that extreme poverty is nearing an end. In it he shows how this does not necessarily mean less inequality, and posits the question as to whether the role of social enterprise is to absolutely reduce inequality or just to slow down the rate at which it is growing? We’re going to need a bigger boat!
  • La Nina: it was noticeably cooler in America this week with new research from Oxfam America showing that the majority of Americans believe their government is most likely to take actions to support the wealthy rather than the poor, and that many believe more needs to be done about poverty in their country.
  • El Nino: finally, there was an interesting piece this week which asked if Social Stock Exchanges will democratise development finance, making it more accessible. The model seems to work well in Mauritius, where the social stock exchange actually exchanges stocks, but the forecast for London is somewhat hazier.

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