£15m challenge set for UK's most socially-minded corporates

The world’s first wholesale social investment bank is calling on private sector firms to pitch their best idea for a high-impact investment that generates strong business and social value.

Big Society Capital’s Business Impact Challenge competition is offering between £5m-£15m investment to the winning private company and aims to boost private sector demand for social investment in the UK. 

Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive of Big Society Capital, said: “The Business Impact Challenge signifies Big Society Capital’s commitment to supporting corporates in making investments that intentionally generate social outcomes and business innovations.”

Eligible private sector organisations include those investing directly in social enterprises, collaborations between private businesses and social ventures and also social impact bonds. The winning entrant will need to match fund Big Society Capital’s investment.

The business proposals will be judged by a panel including O’Donohoe, Economist journalist Matthew Bishop and CEO of Belu Karen Lynch. The panel will be chaired by former minister of state for trade and investment Lord Davies of Abersoch.  

Lord Davies said: “Today’s most innovative companies are building social value into the core of their strategy, moving beyond corporate social responsibility activities to generate competitive advantage through business models that create positive financial and social impact.”

Big Society Capital cited Centrica’s Ignite Fund – the UK’s first energy-focused impact investment fund – and the Nando’s, Anglo-American and Coca-Cola social impact bond, which aims to tackle malaria in Mozambique, as examples of corporates involved in social investment.

As well as the matched investment, Big Society Capital will offer support in structuring and launching the winning idea. The deadline for applications to the Big Impact Challenge is 1 May 2015, with the winner to be announced in Autumn 2015.


Photo credit: