The Editors' Post: A 'radical rethink' – and trusting the people closest to the problem

Politicians push for progress on financing social businesses; inspiration from innovators in Ukraine, India and beyond; and Africa's chance to shine – the editors' view from this week's Pioneers Post newsletter.

The current UK government has often been viewed as pretty uninterested in social enterprise. It’s still unclear if a recent reshuffle will finally move responsibility for the sector from the department for culture to a newly created department for business and trade. Advocates say this would mean social enterprises being treated on a par with other businesses; for now, though, there’s no indication that such a move will happen.

But some Tory politicians are taking a personal interest. In 2021, the MP Gareth Davies called for the “reformation and expansion” of Big Society Capital (his proposals didn’t seem to convince BSC). This week, Jo Gideon, a Conservative MP who also chairs the all-party parliamentary group on social enterprise, writes that social entrepreneurs are in a “unique position to deliver unrivalled social impact, especially in the most underserved communities”. Gideon hopes to convince those currently deciding how to allocate more than £700m of dormant assets in England – money that could make a huge difference when it comes to accessing finance.

Also this week, we share news of a report published by Lord Wei, who some Pioneers Post readers may remember as the one-time “Big Society tsar”. Now, Lord Wei has turned his attention to “a radical rethink” of impact investing – with his proposals covering everything from pensions to insurance to sovereign wealth funds.  

EVPA’s Roberta Bosurgi and Ashoka’s Marie Ringler also call for efforts to make impact investing more appealing and to attract newcomers from across the spectrum of capital. And they highlight another mindset shift that’s required: “We must trust that the people closest to the problem know how to design for deeper impact”. Despite their proven impact, social innovators often see funding sources “dry up in crisis and face a daily risk of shutting down”. What’s the solution? Trust and transparency, Bosurgi and Ringler suggest – and learning from others, including from inspirational leaders in Ukraine, India and Germany.

Awards season

Showcasing what works is one way to get more people excited, and this is one of the goals of a new awards scheme for impact investing pioneers in Africa. The 10 categories also include opportunities for market builders and social entrepreneurs – find out how to get involved.  

And finally, it’s WISE time again – today we’re chuffed to share a top-notch list of 22 finalists in this year’s UK Women in Social Enterprise awards. Check it out to find out who’s up for one of our top prizes, and stay tuned for more news of this year’s Top 100.  


This week's top stories:

Impact investing could grow through pensions, policy and political leadership – UK Tory peer

‘World’s first’ business standard for corporate purpose focuses on wellbeing 

Opinion: It's time to take impact from moment to movement


Photo: socialbee supports refugees to find long-term employment and coaches companies in diversity and integration (©Inter IKEA Systems B. V. 2023) 

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