Good Deals 13: A double good deal as Timewise wins £100,000 RBS investment

A loan of £100,000 was picked up by Timewise Foundation, a social enterprise recruitment company specialising in part-time work, this afternoon at the Good Deals social investment conference pitching contest.

Timewise co-founder Emma Stewart said money to grow was vital at a time of escalating unemployment.

Stewart said: “Stimulating more, quality part-time jobs in the economy has the potential to create significant social and economic impact – an important step towards building a resilient and sustainable society. "This £100,000 investment means we can push for genuine scalability – championing the business case to employers for the social and economic value of part time work.”

The money was won in a pitching session at the Good Deals social investment conference after three social ventures pitched for an investment provided by RBS Group MicroFinance Funds. It is the first time in the UK that a real social investment (as opposed to a grant) has been awarded live on stage.

The contest had been open to all-comers in the social enterprise space and had advertised a £50k investment prize. Timewise had stated its case for the £50k as part of an overall investment drive for £100k.

To the surprise of Timewise and the audience, High Biddell, head of charities and public sector at RBS and the chair of the Good Deals pitch judges, announced that RBS MicroFinance Funds had decided to award the full £100k. "I'm a great believer in lending the right amount of money," Biddell told the audience.

Timewise's competitors for the investment were Co-Wheels, a social enterprise car sharing service, and Upturn, which focuses on helping people from deprived backgrounds achieve their potential through work or other means.

The £5m RBS Group MicroFinance Fund was set up by RBS as a way of investing in those social businesses unable to get finance through mainstream channels.                                                                                 

Over the past eight years, Timewise has reached out to more than 40,000 jobseekers, provided dedicated support to more than 5,300 people and helped more than 2,000 into jobs.

Tim West, director of Matter&Co, the social innovation company behind Good Deals, said: “The longstanding mission of this conference is to introduce social investors to great social businesses in order to get good deals done."