The Impact World this Week: 15 February 2024

Your quick guide to the news in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven business. This week: Wates smashes its social enterprise spending target, Prince William's Earthshot Prize 2024 host city named, and more.

Our key news stories



Plus: other stories that caught our eye


Iceland: A documentary released last week by Patagonia calls on the Icelandic government to show leadership in Europe by banning open net pen salmon farms in its coastal waters. The film, titled Laxaþjóð – A Salmon Nation, premiered at a public event in Reykjavik and online, as part of an international campaign to raise awareness of the harms caused to wild fish, natural environments and farmed animals by open net pens. It’s part of the B Corp’s environmental activism, and recent restructuring that recognises planet Earth “as its only shareholder”.

UK: Family-owned property development and maintenance company, Wates, has announced it has spent £31m with social enterprises since 2020, exceeding its original target of £25m by 2025. The company has now decided to increase its spending target to £36m by 2025. In partnership with Impact Hub London, Wates also launched its social enterprise support programme, Assisting Social Enterprises to Succeed (ASSETS), for the fourth consecutive year. Since 2020, the programme has driven an average of 25% growth across 17 social enterprises, creating 43 new jobs. Wates is a member of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge. 

UK: Social Investment Business (SIB) has secured further investment for the Recovery Loan Fund (RLF), bringing the total raised so far to £17m. The fund’s second close saw two new investors, Ceniarth and The Clothworkers’ Foundation, invest £7m, as well as further investment from existing investors such as Big Society Capital and the Church of England. The Recovery Loan Fund provides repayable finance for charities and social enterprises based in England, Wales and Scotland, offering loans of between £150,000 and £1.5m.

UK: Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support has invested £350,000 into Lucida Medical’s new AI platform, Pi, which aims to enhance the speed and accuracy of prostate cancer detection. This is the second investment from Macmillan’s Impact Investment Portfolio, which is planned to invest £3.5m in start-up businesses that are developing innovative cancer care products and technology over the next two years.

Global: The Earthshot Prize 2024 Awards ceremony is set to take place in Cape Town, South Africa this November, at the start of Earthshot Week. The Earthshot Prize was launched by Prince William in 2020 to discover, recognise and scale the most innovative solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges. Previous award ceremonies have been hosted in London, Boston and Singapore. The second of its kind, this year’s five-day Earthshot Week aims to bring together global environmental and sustainability leaders to celebrate innovation emerging across Africa especially. 

Figure of the week: 31,500 is the number of community interest companies (CICs) registered in the UK as of January 2024. Data published this week by Social Enterprise UK shows CIC registration is growing significantly, and proportionately more than registration of other legal forms of business. Social Enterprise UK found CICs were dissolved, on average, at a lower rate than other forms of registered business during the pre- through to post-pandemic period of 2018 to 2023.