Fit for the future: Be 'guided by the mission' to raise the right finance
What does it mean to build a healthy, resilient, sustainable organisation that’s able to do good and well at the same time? In this series, Buzzacott and Pioneers Post meet some of the stars of social enterprise and mission-driven business to talk about how to build a strong culture, how to find the right finance, how to navigate risk, and what it means to measure and manage impact. If you're considering raising social investment now or sometime in the future, this episode is for you.
Social enterprises seeking to grow and increase their impact usually need to raise some type of finance. Often, they'll look to social investment: loans, equity or blended finance. But often the process can be confusing and difficult to navigate.
In this episode of Fit for the Future, hosts Anna Patton, Pioneers Post’s managing editor, and Matt Katz, partner at Buzzacott accountancy firm, talk to Isabelle Irani, co-founder of social investment firm Sumerian Partners, and Mark Simms, CEO of P3 Charity, which supports vulnerable people in England through housing, outreach and other activities.
P3 Charity has grown substantially over the years, using various types of finance, including several social impact bonds. But growth for the sake of growth was a pitfall to avoid, Simms says: “All of these deals have been guided by our mission and purpose and we’ve never moved away from it to chase some money”.
As an impact investor, Sumerian works with social enterprises or charities for many months to help them strengthen their strategy before providing investment. “It’s a far more inclusive way of working, and most importantly it helps us to mitigate risk when we provide repayable finance to these organisations,” Irani says.
While social enterprises are experts in their respective fields, they aren’t necessarily experienced in growing an organisation, she adds, hence the need for extensive non-financial support.
Understanding the cost of any finance you take on is crucial, Simms says. “Would you do it if it was your money? That’s a reasonably good test of whether it's good value.”
Most important, he adds, is to get advice from your peers – other social enterprises that have used social finance in the past. “Talk to people who’ve been through it because they’ll save you going through it.”
Find out more about how Buzzacott can help social enterprises and charities looking to raise finance, or explore resources on social investment from Good Finance.
Podcast edited and produced by Laura Joffre.
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