Category Archives: Social Finance

Funding Community Housing – a landscape view

Working in communities, for us, involves delivering free support and resources to the nascent individual social entrepreneur or the community group, incorporated or not, involved in the transition to an active community focused business.

The nature of developing community business, or individual entrepreneurship, often involves a wider dialogue about social policy and the quality of life for residents in the broadest terms. Housing is often part of that narrative.

SocEntEast Mids does not offer advice on matters concerning investment, banking or legality. We freely collaborate with community players to share our decades of aggregate experience in community development and enterprise engagement.

That said, as the conversation in the meeting room, or community centre eddies and swirls towards a conclusion, it is useful to be able to tender some broad signposting around themes of concern, as part of that engagement process.

The narratives, data and contacts below, all freely available in the public domain, are an attempt to provide such a signpost.


A really useful place to start is the Power to Change: Business in Community Hands pages. here you can find grants that ‘…support projects that build of refurbish affordable homes’.

Homes in Community Hands ‘…are focusing on community groups in the early stages of their community-led housing development to support feasibility and predevelopment work, leading up to submitting a planning application. Our research has shown that is where funds are needed most to get projects moving’.

Discover more here: https://www.powertochange.org.uk/get-support/programmes/community-housing/


Targeting Funding to Support Community-led Housing is a publication also from Power Change. Authored by Tom Archer, Anna Kear, Catherine Harrington – Power to Change August 2018.

Targeting funding - download image and web link...
Targeting funding – download here: pdf

This is an essential primer when thinking about engagement in any aspect of community led housing projects.

Development stages, funding stages and the current provision of the funding and financial support available are all clearly labelled here.

Also useful in the appendix of the publication is the advice given on how to do a SWOT analysis of funding need for your development stages.

 

 

 


Even more current is Helping Communities Build – A review of the Community Land Trust Funds and lessons for future support. Authors: Dr Tom Archer, Dr Stephen Green with Charlie Fisher | January 2019, this publication, was produced by Sheffield Hallam University and the Charities Aid Foundation.

Community-led housing schemes empower people, enrich local communities and improve the lives of residents. They can breathe new life into a village by offering affordable homes below market rate to families that are priced out of the area they live and work in.

The authors argue that CLT’s are a currently under deployed tool for community social enrichment, but non the less, this paper highlights the context of the mechanism and is, in our opinion, particularly honest and useful in making an assessment of obstacles and pinch points in any community housing scheme.

See more here…(pdf).

CAF and Power to Change also have a useful web article on a new source of funding available – Blended Finance Available for CLT’s. Authored by Anne-Helene Sinha, it is a new and pioneering offer in the marketplace.


CivilSociety.co.uk have a useful article by James Johnson – Should you invest in Social Housing?

Johnson’s argument is, essentially, that investors with a conscience can all help to alleviate the current housing crisis by investing in the sector. He is also strong on the weakness and re-directions  of central government in the housing mix over time…

…blame can be laid at the door of government. In 2009 (the last full year of Gordon Brown’s administration), Whitehall provided £11.4bn towards the cost of building homes. By 2015 (under David Cameron’s Conservative-led coalition), this had over halved to £5.3bn. More pertinently, perhaps, in terms of GDP, the fall is even more dramatic – it has dropped from 0.7 per cent to 0.2 per cent.

A depressing tale, well told with numbers to underscore the disparity of supply versus demand.


More useful links for data and context:

The Plan to End Homelessness, by Crisis, is also another salutory lesson in how housing and welfare policies have failed to work effectively, either with each other, or with the homeless to create sustainable and affordable solutions to the present crisis.

See the full report here

Big Society Capital also have data and information resources of Social Housing and Homelessness. You can see a sector snapshot and data from 2017 here… (pdf).

They also offer some useful case studies, in an article by their Investment Manager, Aman Johal, on the factoring of social investment to amplify housing and local facilities.

See more here: https://www.bigsocietycapital.com/about-us/previous-projects/housing-and-local-facilities


Editor’s Note:

SocEntEastMids does not offer banking, finance or legal advice. Our free resources and support is dedicated to sharing our decades of community enterprise experience collaboratively with the nascent social entrepreneur or ethical business minded community group.

We are happy to have a ‘social enterprise’ conversation at any time, and to donate free resources, to foster the aims of the sector.

Cabinet Office – Social Investment Awards

 Investing in UK social business…

The Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards recognise the impact social investment is having on communities across the UK.

Now entering its second year, the awards highlight the innovation and dedication of world leading social investors and enterprises, celebrating both the achievements of teams and individuals alike.

The awards are supported by NatWest. In 1999 the bank set up its own charity, Social & Community Capital, to help fund social enterprises and community lenders that cannot access mainstream finance and to help them on their path to the financial mainstream.

The awards have six categories that applicants can enter, free of charge, by nominating their own businesses or social enterprises.

Institutional Social Investment Award
Institutional investment deal or product that has created demonstrable social impact at scale.
New Social Investors Award
Investment deal or product that has attracted new savers and investors into the social investment market.
Social Entrepreneurs Investment Award
Investment deal into an early stage social organisation to create demonstrable social impact.
International Social Investment Award
International investor who has invested through the UK market to create social impact anywhere in the world.
Market Building Award
Organisation that has demonstrated innovative and diverse ways to grow the social investment market in the UK.
Public Service Transformation Award
Social investment deal that has delivered improved public services.

Categories 1-3 and 5-6 are open to nominations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Category 4 is open to individuals or organisations based anywhere in the world.

The awards close to applications on 18 March 2016. Short-listed nominees will be notified on 1 April 2016 and the awards ceremony will be held in London on 3 May 2016.

For more information see the Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards website.

Innovation in Business – how to do it?

There is a new course, just released on Future Learn, which teaches you the basics of business innovation in any environment. Future Learn offers free courses on-line, many of which can add certificated outcomes to your professional development learning.

The Social Business sector is all about innovation, in financing, in management and in operational delivery – all with strong social value and outcome in mind.

Innovation: The Key to Business Success can help you achieve these goals for yourself. Wherever you fit in your organisation.

‘Understand commercial innovation, how ideas emerge and become reality, with this free online course developed with Marks & Spencer’ – The University of Leeds.

The course starts in June 2015, plenty of time to subscribe for the course content and bring your innovation skills to the fore. See how to enrol here…


Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

Venturefest
East Midlands
April 14th, 2015

Venturefest East Midlands will take place on Tuesday 14 April 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham. There will be many opportunities to showcase achievements, network and build new business skills before the event, through activities and resources…including’:

  • Advice and support for all things business and innovation
  • Access and information about Open Innovation contracts throughout the East Midlands
  • Workshops on pitching to investors for investment ready businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Direct networking opportunities with the dedicated Venturefest app

Importantly for SEEM, we will be delivering the Social Business Hub offer, giving you insights into the Social Business sector.

As well as giving you a chance to meet and network with businesses already active in this emerging sector, The Hub can be instrumental in helping you to formulate your new social business idea, or to pivot an existing business strand into delivery on social terms.

The Hub will contain a variety of Social Business practitioners to share ideas with and seek support from, if required, including…

Arch Communications
Choice Unlimited
Food Freedom
Nottingham Social Impact Fund
Playworks
SmithMartin Partnership LLP

Join Roger and the SEEM team at Venturefest East Midlands. Call in on The Social Business Hub, take part in the workshop events and start exploring your new Social Business venture.

internetIconMiniYou can download the Venturefest app here. See you on the 14th…

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

Good for Business?

businessforgoodButtonThe lounge of Antenna, in Nottingham, was buzzing last night (24th February) with talk about business for good and how change in traditional structures and processes can create models of delivery that are good for business.

The event was part of the ongoing  programme of engagement with post-grad students at Nottingham University for the Social Business Programme, which seeks to offer opportunities and ideas for the current post-graduate cohort of the University to start a business for good, a Building Enterprise activity.

You can find more about the work of the project on our events page, or see the Nottingham City Postgraduate Social Business Programme on-line here.

The evening was chaired and facilitated by Jeanne Booth, who was able to introduce a panel of speakers for the audience, who were both inspirational and able to deliver pertinent short messages about their experiential learning in the development and awareness of Social Business. Some of the ideas abroad on the night are tendered below…


 

Paul CaulfieldDirector of the MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility at Nottingham University Business School

Corporate social responsibility is dead, long live Social Business! This could have been the rallying cry for the audience from Paul’s presentation. The old ways are perhaps no longer fit for purpose, we were told. With CSR as a concept, arguably, seen as a reactive and backward looking process.

Much was made of nature and things natural as metaphors for new business development under the banner of Social Business. We have destroyed 50% of the rain-forest so far. Paul surprised the audience with the metaphoric concept of bio-mimicry as perhaps providing the new, forward looking business model.

However, the speaker argued, not all in the past is of no use. The Guilds were, from early modern history, craft makers and carers for community. Fostering skills and market development, from their geographical locus, yet preserving the best of tradition.

It is this, the fostering of ideas, like the emergent Social Business movement, that is the only truly scaleable resource we have. ‘A dialogue between two people with ideas results in a more dynamic third idea‘. Wonderful stuff!

Toni EsbergerCEO of Nottingham Circle

This section of the evening had the style of a structured interview and response between Toni and Jeanne.  Toni, in her development of the Nottingham Circle, a membership group for the over-50’s, had clearly done much to encourage the recording and shaping of data and soft outcome records for her organisation.

In any new or developing business, this collection of data is redundant in itself. It is how the people in the organisation deploy the knowledge locked up in the data, or in people’s stories over time.

Relationships, shared goals, resourcefulness and generosity. These were some of the keywords Jeanne was able to elicit from the speaker. They are the perfect framing paradigm for a good Social Business too. These and a great spreadsheet, which you can deploy for funders, partners and beneficiaries too.

Roger MoorsCEO of SEEM

How do you finance good business was Roger’s key question to the audience at Antenna? Illustrating the tensions between the Third Sector and traditional business, Roger opined that it was seen as the sector’s traditional role, over business, to deliver social outputs.

This has changed. Using another natural metaphor the audience were asked to declare if they ate vegetables? Then they were asked if they were vegetarians? There was a large disparity in the aggregate numbers of the replies.

Thus, Roger argued, ‘…Social Business is not about legal structure, it is about how you do it’. All businesses need capital, to finance cash-flow, purchase of assets or to develop their business idea. Social investment is, therefore, about investing for impact.

There are, therefore, three key elements to getting an offer of social investment. An economically sustainable idea. A collection of ‘investable’ people. Impact.

To see if you qualify, contact Roger at SEEM. He’s the capital chap!

Martin KnoxBrand Developer, Business Designer and Creative Interpreter for retail business

Martin works with people in organisations to ‘...identify, articulate and present the truth of their product or service’. Echoing the message that traditional business methodologies were undergoing change, Martin stresses the search for ‘truth’ in presentation, marketing and delivery as now being the key social business driver.

There is a new commercial imperative. It is the power of the story, not about a thing in itself. As founders of new social businesses the message about your motives, your values and the journey you have undertaken to get here are now powerful drivers of client or customer engagement.

This was a telling section of the evening. Stressing the emotional and empathetic engagement inherent in social business. ‘People no longer buy the ‘what’, they are interested in the ‘why’.

Nicky GreyFounder of Food Freedom

Nicky’s story is one of developing her Social Business through reaction to familial allergies and intolerances. Driven to engage with school catering staff, Nicky was able to grapple initially with the ‘different school lunch’ issue, helping to foster a more tolerant attitude to difference, certainly, but also restoring a sense of balance and good health to her own family members.

From this ‘community action’ approach, Food Freedom has gone on to foster and deliver a range of training courses and awareness raising expertise for a variety of clients – schools, companies and community settings.

A very telling and key part of the Food Freedom presentation was the characteristics needed to found, grow and stabilise a new Social Business. Nicky had three important messages for the Antenna audience…

  • Really want to make a difference – care about it above profit…
  • Draw exhilaration and energy from the feedback and measured impact you can obtain along the way…
  • Make sure you gather that evidence formally and then deploy it wisely.

 

The evening concluded, after a short break, with a full Q & A session with the expert panel. The Chair was able to guide the audience through questions and responses, from theory and practice, to help them conceptualise, form or grow their Social Business idea.

This was a well organised, useful and informative session. It is part of a wider programme of creating enterprise events. If you have an idea as post-grad, then this is the place to go for answers, advice and, perhaps, even funding…see more here.

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

 

Social Finance and Human Capital

From the SEEM archive:

Addendum: February 2019

Below is an article from 2014 that argues for social investment in education. With the current crisis in university finances, the poor uptake of social investment tax relief (SITR) and so on, perhaps the new energy framed in this paper is still a highly pertinent reflection?


Dateline: 2014
Roger H. Moors and Justin Beresford have published a new paper on Social Finance and Human Capital: the case for social investment in higher education. The paper presents an interesting argument, namely, that higher education offers the opportunity for private investment and hence that human capital can be viably classed as an investible proposition.
Read the full paper here...
Read the full paper here…pdf

This is a new model of education. Making the process of investment in human capital a social finance initiative, which might offer tax incentives for pension fund investment, whilst reducing state spending on H.E. The model could offer real wage increases over time, enhancing the fiscal strength of generations in the future.

The abstract:

“The markets for both education and retirement planning are characterised by market failure and hence are dependent on state intervention. However, an ageing population and a commitment to make university the norm for most young people have led the state to withdraw wholesale funding.

This paper discusses the potential for social capital to be used as a funding mechanism for university tuition. A solution is outlined in which investor’s pension contributions are used to fund university tuition. Graduates pay a higher marginal rate of tax over their working lives and contributions are drawn down by retirees from these repayments. Wage growth over time, motived by induced investment in human capital, means that each successive generation is able to recoup more than it put in.

The external benefits outlined allow the facilitating institution to be classified as a social enterprise and hence investment is motived by tax incentives as well as the promise of high private returns”.

The argument:

This is a timely paper. With some £9 billion spent on higher education in England, student debt and the future shape of university finances all currently in debate. It has been mooted that universities might, for instance, buy the student loan debt of their own students. Much criticism has been engendered, however, as some suggest this will lead the institutions to only take on low risk students from wealthy backgrounds. Further promoting social divide and a non-inclusive higher education process, as they reap the later financial benefits of students taking up highly paid careers as their lives unfold.

The Moors/Beresford thesis holds that benefits can be accrued from the creation of a ‘savings pension pot’, which could be used to fund university tuition fees. The model for a fully funded scheme sees investor savings used to invest in university tuition fees, rather than being invested in financial market instruments.

The graduating student will repay their tuition fees by accepting a higher rate of marginal income tax over a fixed number of years. The Moors/Beresford multiplier would kick in if the ‘…rate of growth of participating students earnings continuously outgrows interest rates’, leading to a continuously rising scale of skill and economic productivity to foster more growth for future generations.

Read the paper, join the debate, support a new model of education for future generations.

About the authors of this proposition:

Roger Moors was CEO at SEEM (Supporting Social Business) based in Nottingham. Researching the development of new models and applications for ‘social finance’ across a range of social and environmental issues.

Justin Beresford is an economic adviser at the Malagasy Ministry of Finance Department for Budget Programming and Coordination. He was an assistant economist at the UK Ministry of Justice (Analytical Services Directorate).

Don’t forget Good Deals 2014

Registration for the Good Deals conference taking place on the 24-25th of November 2014 at 30 Euston Square London will close on Wednesday the 19th of November.

Our partners Matter&Co are once again organising the UK’s biggest gathering of social entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, corporates and social investors.

Keynote speakers include Jacqueline Novogratz, Vince Cable, Safia Minney and Liam Black. Please visit http://www.good-dealsuk.com/ to book your ticket online and for programme and venue details.

As a partner to the event we are delighted to offer all of our members a 25% discount ticket to the conference using the promo code SEEM14.

If you can’t wait, give a member of the team a call on 02085338892.

We are really excited about this year’s event and we will be there in full force. We hope to see you there too.