Global social innovation round-up #24

Golden shares: the solution to protecting social mission

Golden shares can help social enterprise businesses preserve their mission as they grow and raise further investment, concludes a new report by Big Society Capital and Hogan Lovells.

A golden share in a company gives a shareholder the right of veto and control over the mission statement, which an enterprise is founded upon. This makes it possible to ensure that the guardianship always remains in the hands of an organisation where social impact, and not profit, is the primary focus.

Counsel Amanda Onions of Hogan Lovells said: “Increasingly, it’s not just government but business that is embedding a sense of mission to their organisations. Many new entrepreneurs and investors alike are also being driven to improve society, not just make a profit.

"The use of golden shares in social enterprise is relatively new but, used effectively, it can differentiate a company of any size from its purely commercial peers and ensure that its social mission is protected – for the benefit of owners, investors and wider stakeholders."

Big Society also announced a £250,000 investment in intermediary Numbers for Good this week, to help the organisation expand its operations.

To find out more about the 'Going for Gold: How golden shares can help lock in mission for social enterprises' report, click here to take a look at Big Society Capital’s latest blog post.  

Women do three out of every four hours of unpaid work

The 2015 Human Development Report has been released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ethiopia this week and reveals entrenched gender disparity internationally.

The report concludes that women carry out 52% of all global work, but when women are paid they earn globally, on average, 24% less than men and occupy less than a quarter of senior business positions worldwide.

UNDP administrator Helen Clark said: “To reduce this inequality, societies need new policies, including better access to paid care services. Ensuring equal pay, providing paid parental leave, and tackling the harassment and the social norms that exclude so many women from paid work are among the changes needed.

“That would enable the burden of unpaid care work to be shared more widely, and give women a genuine choice on whether to enter the labour force.”

Social investment tax relief deal struck in Scotland

Social enterprise Breadshare community bakery has raised approximately £50,000 from five investors using social investment tax relief (SITR). Breadshare is a community interest company based in Edinburgh set up by a husband and wife team. As well as sourcing ingredients locally, the venture teaches baking and encourages community engagement. Ian Merchant, former CEO of energy company SSE, is one of the backers of the venture.

UK think tank urges government to empower digital transformation in the social sector

The Ministry for Civil Society and other social sector funders should invest in sector-wide digital transformation, argues a new report by think tank NPC.

Tris Lumley, director of development at NPC and one of the authors of the Tech for Common Good report, said: “It’s pointless to have dozens of charities working out how to address the same social problems yet largely cut off from one another. To achieve the most social good charities will need to share much more. That will increasingly be through new tech, from shared platforms to marketplaces for delivering services.

“This is what beneficiaries need, but the market seldom supports initiatives that make an impact across the whole charity sector. This is why we are asking government, funders and investors to make a big, forward-looking decision on investing in digital infrastructure for common good across the whole sector.”

To read Lumley’s latest article in Pioneers Post, please click here.

Social investment gathering held in Abu Dhabi

Shell and the Emirates Foundation this week hosted the Social Investment Workshop in Abu Dhabi to bring together leaders from the biggest energy companies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the social investment sector. The aim of the event was to discuss key trends in social investment, share best practices from across the MENA region and learn new tools that support effective social investment portfolio management.


Thanks for reading! This marks our final global social innovation round-up of the year... Did you know that Pioneers Post is a social enterprise? During the summer at the 2015 Social Enterprise World Forum in Milan we launched our first printed quarterly magazine. To make sure you stay informed about the latest social enterprise, impact investment and responsible business trends and developments in 2016, subscribe to Pioneers Post Quarterly.

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Photo credit: Susanne Nilsson