Imaginaitive with funding, secure in it’s mission for social enterprise – The Key Fund…
Key Fund, a long-standing investor in community and social enterprises, is delivering the Northern Impact Fund, aimed at new and early stage enterprises who are seeking finance to support growth.
Matt Smith, CEO of the Key Fund, said: “With this fund we’re offering finance of up to £150k, but typical investments will be around £50k, with up to 20% of the amount available as grant. The Key Fund was one of the early pioneers in this space, and our original model was based on a grant and loan mix, so we’re really excited to be going back to that original model. It’s long been our belief that grants can play a very important role in helping new and smaller social enterprise become more robust.”
Source: The Key Fund web site – thekeyfund.co.uk Accessed 25.09.2016
A new blended grant and loan fund, the Key Fund package looks to secure sector deals in the £5,000 to £150,000 range. Applications are accepted from across the North and Midlands, with the Fund looking to realise 46 deals a year.
At a flat rate of 6.5% interest, the average loan term secured is expected to be three years.
Interested in business development on these terms, as a social/community enterprise. See the links below…
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.
Nottingham’s Miles Waghorn has emerged the triumphant winner of the SEEM ‘New Business Idea’ Award at the inaugural Venturefest East Midlands with his innovative TechSilver e-commerce store.
Over 1000 delegates gathered at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham for Venturefest. A mix of entrepreneurs, business owners, academics, business services and representatives of large multinationals joined together to grow the East Midlands’ innovation eco-system.
Miles, a 22 year old social entrepreneur, secured the coveted SEEM award for his business idea that provides solutions for seniors. TechSilver, a ‘technology store for the later lifestyle’, provides innovative products and supportive services, designed, created or adapted for senior users ensuring they make the most of their purchases.
Roger Moors, CEO of SEEM said he was delighted that Miles had won the award adding that many senior members of society would now benefit from this support and be able to access technology that they may feel is a little intimidating at times.
Pictured, Miles receiving the SEEM Award from special guest, Simon Woodroffe OBE founder of ‘Yo’ Sushi’…
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There are a number of interesting articles and discussion available on the financial and technology news boards at the moment. FinTech is something of a buzz word, being synonymous with innovation in banking technology. There is, however, a wider discourse at large. Can the major banks innovate generally?
UX Magazine recently published a detailed article, by Alexander Rauser, a tech specialist based in Dubai. Alexander argues that banks are currently responding to new advances in banking technology, perhaps rather slowly, and are now beginning to take a view of market changes and new start-ups in the finance sector.
We would argue that the the emergence of the Social Business sector, impact investing and the ideas behind Social Finance, are all part of this press of new ideas into a very traditional market place.
The Rauser thesis holds that major banks have recently made significant change in some areas…
“They have designed online banking processes that improve how banks can interact with their customers, how they can resolve problems, how they can provide information and largely improve the banking experience.
Back office systems have enabled banks to outsource administrative and customer service roles.
The chip and pin and contactless payment systems have revolutionised payment processes—cash is likely to soon be redundant”.
All well and good, but to survive, Rauser argues, the major names we know need to achieve significantly more, namely…
“Growth in revenue and profits.
Bridging gaps in products, services, and processes designed by the bank.
Saving operational costs.
Offering convenience to the customer and supporting customer retention.
Enabling staff with tools that help solve customer problems”.
Recent European on-line banking services have, like the list above, responded to the customer satisfaction challenge in new ways. Not ony by being available on-line, but integrating e-commerce functionality directly into their account provision to satisfy the non-technical solution demands of their customers.
Rauser goes on to discuss nine other key areas that banks can affect or implement in their relationship with customers to better deploy technology, trust and bank/client interaction.
Amongst these are some ideas that must cause traditional bankers of the old school some palpitations. These include extending reward programmes to include more direct ‘gamification’, thereby enhancing what the banks may discover about your lifestyle and spending choices.
The development of ‘social banking’, allowing customers to spend and interact with their bank on new media channels. Rauser cites the Commercial Bank of Dubai, which now has a Facebook app, allowing customers to interact and commit transactions on mobile or desktop ecosystems.
Another move, cited in the Rauser article is the wider introduction of the ‘concierge’ in personal banking. Long a feature for very wealthy clients, some banks are now extending this sort of service to ‘regular’ current account holders.
What all of the initiatives mentioned above seem to be about is communication.
Is this not a return to the town/regional banking interfaces of a previous century? A bank talking, empathetically, with confidence and professionalism to its client base. Where the customer has rising loyalty to his or her bank and approaches banking innovation with real confidence. Assured that the bank actually populates the same world as the client.
We would argue that, despite the new innovations in Social Finance and Social Business we would obviously champion, the approach of key players in the Social Finance market place is very much based upon and conditioned by, these ‘old is new’ interactions.
The opportunity to embrace social outcome as a key business aim, by complex organisations of any size, needs a banker who listens, is available and who understands both the metrics of the business and the philosophy of the declared social aim.
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.
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…
“…how emerging technologies in the digital economy can transform society by the mobilisation of collective action, enable a more collaborative economy, new ways of making, citizen participation, sustainability and social innovation”.
This European initiative, connected by philosophy and concept, itself overcomes distance by the use of new technology. Bringing together organisations and key players on the innovative transformation of society through their use of the internet.
This can be in the creation of projects which develop a more collaborative economy, devise new ways of making, delivering a more open and democratic society, as well as using technology to bring forward new funding streams, accelerator and enterprise incubator programmes.
This whole spectrum of activity sits well with our own social finance mission, based upon strong ethical considerations, which deliver social output as a key return of the business plan.
We think DSI will continue to grow through 2015. Nesta and its partner organisations are holding an event in Brussels on the 17th February, 2015 to enable players in this new sector to engage, discuss and make new connections.
If you wish to explore DSI further, ahead of the event, the DSI Partnership has a web site that is worth exploring. You can see who the 1500 or so partner organisations are and access news and information on funding and research. You can also download a set of free resources. See more here.
Their succinct definition, of what DSI is, is given below….
“Digital Social Innovation is a type of collaborative innovation in which innovators, users and communities co-create knowledge and solutions for a wide range of social needs exploiting the network effect of the Internet.”
If you are interested in the transformative power of financial innovation, social change and new technology economies of scale, we think this is a movement worth tracking in 2015. The city, region or national movements in our sector will all find something of interest here.
We may even see you in Brussels?
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Elvaston Castle and Country Park, in Derbyshire, has been working to establish through consultation, with a wide variety of communities of interest and partners, a clear ‘vision document’ for the Castle.
This has been achieved and now the Castle is looking to appoint a Chair of a new advisory Development Board, to prepare the estate for the next phase of its sustainable future.
Working with The National Trust, Derbyshire County Council have delivered a profile and terms of reference for the new Chair and the Development Board.
This Community Interest Company (CIC) has been established to play its own partnership role in developing and broadcasting news and information to the Elvaston community and its hinterland.
(Roger Moors of SEEM, has through his work with the community and DCC, as well as the Elvaston team, been instrumental in the creation of this new inclusive community presence, designed to inform everyone about the new future for the Elvaston Estate).
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?
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.
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 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”.
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).
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