Press Coverage



    London 7 April, 2014 – Today, early stage social businesses across England are being challenged to apply for vital investment capital and business mentoring support that will potentially propel their ventures to the next level.

    Big Issue Invest’s Corporate Social Venturing Challenge is back: £500,000 investment available for innovative early stage social businesses.

    The initiative is an innovative partnership between Big Issue Invest and Barclays, with investment and support from five partners: Experian, First Ark, Fusion21, Places for People, and The University of Northampton. The Challenge is also supported by the Cabinet Office, as part of the £10m Social Incubator Fund.

    We've opened a second round of our Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) programme. The programme uses corporate partners to invest in, support and nurture a new generation of high potential social businesses to grow and deliver sustainable social and financial returns.

    Now open, the CSV Challenge is seeking up to 20 teams for an intensive mentoring programme. At the end, 10 finalists will be chosen to receive an investment of up to £50,000 each, as well as on-going support.



    New research published today (31st March 2014) suggests private equity can help to rebalance the UK economy, spreading growth and job opportunities more equally across regions and communities.

    The study, commissioned by LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, was carried out by Big Issue Invest, to explore how the private equity sector can best measure its contribution to helping the UK meet its challenges in terms of social value.

    The project analysed the portfolio of investments held by LDC from 2003 to 2013, covering a total of 129 companies. Aggregate data was assessed against five key economic policy areas aimed at driving balanced economic growth. Results were then used to produce a ‘social value scorecard’, benchmarking performance with national averages across a total of 12 social value indices.

    Nigel Kershaw OBE, chief executive of Big Issue Invest and group chairman of The Big Issue Company, said: “There is a consensus that the UK’s big long-term challenge is to achieve balanced, sustainable and equitable growth. The interests of the private equity sector are often seen as running either in opposition or in isolation of these goals. Using LDC as a pilot study, Big Issue Invest developed a social value assessment methodology that provides a much needed evidence-based understanding of this relationship."

    “BII hopes that the report’s approach and methodology will generate a more informed debate and further research on how Britain’s leading businesses create social value for all.”

    The study was led by Mark Hepworth, head of research and policy for Big Issue Invest, and chief executive of research and strategy consultancy Geoeconomics. Contact: or 0207 526 3431

  • Big Issue Invest & Halton Community Association - People Power


    How a green ‘by the people, for the people’ energy scheme is bringing industry back to a former powerhouse...

    From the mid-13th century, the small Lancaster village of Halton boasted successful industry powered by the River Lune for almost 800 years. Used to power textile mills and oilcloth manufacturing, industry thrived until eventually shutting up shop in the 1960s.

    This stunning stretch of the Lune has failed to fulfill its potential since – until now, thanks in part to the resolve and determination of Halton Community Association (HCA), a non-profit charity with the aim of making their village self-sustainable. All going well, the River Lune could be generating non-fossil-fuel electricity by the end of the year

    Our partnership with Halton featured in The Big Issue magazine (February 17-25 2014 No.1090).

    Download the full article:
  • Big Issue Invest celebrate winning major national award


    The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, in partnership with the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA), celebrate excellence in community finance.

    Last night at the awards ceremony in Bristol, Big Issue Invest were named as the winner of the Community in Partnership award and were presented with a £20,000 prize. This award celebrates partnerships that have improved access to finance.  It recognised the achievement of Big Issue Invest in its work to tackle financial exclusion through the Rental Exchange initiative, in partnership with Experian.

    Judges’ Comments: “Big Issue Invest is pioneering methods to tackle poverty and inequality by enabling social housing tenants to improve their credit rating.”

    BII and Experian have worked together since 2007 to tackle the financial, digital and social exclusion challenges faced by millions of social housing tenants in the UK. Launched in 2012, the Rental Exchange tackles financial exclusion by enabling social housing tenants to build a credit history, through sharing rent payment data. The project has the potential to boost the credit scores of over 1.5 million tenants increasing access to mainstream credit and other services, as well as providing an on-line proof of identity.

    Nigel Kershaw, CEO Big Issue Invest and Chair of The Big Issue said: “We are delighted to have won an award for this pioneering initiative. This project will bring large numbers of low income tenants into the mainstream economy. It has been a true partnership project working with social housing providers and tenants throughout the country, together with Experian who are enabling this information to be shared.”


    Ben Hughes, Chief Executive of the CDFA, said:
    “Locally based community finance providers – CDFIs – are providing their customers with invaluable access to finance and to support – and we were thrilled to be able to recognise and reward some of this support through the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards. We were overwhelmed with outstanding applications to the Awards from CDFIs that are using innovative and creative ways to provide finance to their local communities.”

    Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Microfinance and Community Development, added:
    “This is the first time we have brought the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards to the UK so to have such quality, diversity and wide geographic spread of entries is truly impressive. It’s a real testament to the commitment and growth of the UK’s CDFI sector in recent years.The awards are an exciting opportunity to showcase the individuals and organisations that are changing lives, boosting economies and energising neighbourhoods. Their achievements were celebrated at the final of the first UK Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.”

    About the Awards
    The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards celebrate the innovative and important work of community finance in supporting financial inclusion and economic growth. The awards will recognise excellence in community development finance institutions (CDFIs) that provide finance which changes lives and transforms neighbourhoods. The awards will also recognise the achievements of outstanding microentrepreneurs that are bringing wealth, services and jobs to communities across the UK. It is a collaboration between the Citi Foundation and Community Development Finance Association. Further details are available at

    CDFIs create jobs and help businesses to start and grow. They help people to pay bills, meet unexpected expenses or improve their home. They help people who may otherwise use high cost credit, such as payday lenders. Additional information can be found at

  • Big Issue Invest & Brixton Green - A Green Future


    Download our latest article to find out how Big Issue Invest helped a forward-thinking group of south londoners shape a community that works for them.

    Brixton Green is owned outright by its members, each of whom lives or works in one of Brixton’s five central wards – Tulse Hill, Ferndale, Coldharbour, Brixton Hill and Herne Hill. “This really puts the people that live in Brixton at the heart of what this is all about,” Brad Carroll says. Set up in 2008, the group aims to establish a community- led hub focused on creativity, enterprise and training.

    “Self-help and prevention is at the core of The Big Issue’s mission and Brixton Green is a great example of just this, where local people are transforming their own community,” says Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest and Big Issue group chairman.

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (January 13-19, 2014 No.1085)

    Download the full article:
  • Now there's a bright idea....


    More than 1.7million people have benefitted from Big issue invest’s mission to help social enterprises deliver real solutions to social problems.

    We take a look back on 2013 in our latest article in the Big Issue magazine.

    Happy new year!

    Download the full article:
  • Big Issue Invest & Spartans - Preparing for glory with the Spartans


    Spartans community football academy is harnessing the beautiful game to create a positive outlook for young people and transforming their lives through sport.

    One social enterprise that continues to successfully harness the powerful impact of sport is The Spartans Community Football Academy, the Edinburgh-based charity arm of Spartans FC, one of Scotland’s most renowned amateur football teams. The academy promotes participation in sport and recreational activity and hosts a wide range of social projects with the aim of improving local health, reducing crime and providing learning and work opportunities within communities.

    “We want to use the power of sport to transform lives,” says Douglas Samuel, The Spartans CFA development manager. The project was founded in December 2008 but for over two years the facility wasn’t up to scratch for the academy to meet its goals. After securing part of the funding required to install a synthetic football pitch, the academy turned to BII to finish the job. And north Edinburgh has never looked back since. “Spartans Community Football Academy is a fantastic social enterprise that delivers so much for the local community,” says Daniel Wilson of Big Issue Invest. “Football is only the starting point and it is the additional social outcomes around health, education and training that really impresses us at Big Issue Invest. We’re delighted that we are now part of their story.

    Our partnership with The Spartans Community Football Academy featured in The Big Issue magazine (December 2-8, 2013 No.1080)

    Download the full article:
  • Social Enterprise Awards 2013


    Big Issue Invest (BII) and its leader, Nigel Kershaw OBE, have been recognised in the 2013 Social Enterprise Awards.  The national competition, now in its 15th year, recognises the hard work and achievements of Britain’s most inspiring and successful social enterprises.

    BII won the Social Investment Deal award for Sandwell Community Caring Trust in partnership with Unity Trust Bank, which helped secure the future of elderly people with dementia by enabling them to buy a residential care home. Nigel, chair of The Big Issue Group and CEO of BII, received the prestigious Social Enterprise Champion of Champions award for his work at Big Issue Invest and The Big Issue for nearly twenty years and his contribution to the social enterprise movement.

    BII also celebrated the success of investee Blue Sky Development & Regeneration winning the Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise category. Blue Sky aims to break the cycle of re-offending and challenge perceptions about ex-offenders.

    Nigel Kershaw said: “We are really knocked out to be recognised by winning the SEUK awards. Big Issue Invest supports and extends the work of The Big Issue that has self-help and prevention at its core. By investing between £50k and £1m in 160 social enterprises we have helped them improve the lives of over 1.7 million people, sustained 3,200 jobs and trained almost 14,000 people. We are so pleased that Blue Sky was also recognised. Blue Sky, just like The Big Issue, works with people who are perceived to be the problem but are in fact the solution. We wish Mick May, their inspirational CEO, a speedy recovery”

  • Big Issue Invest & Wheelbase - It’s win-win, wheely


    Wheelbase offers person-centred training and education to people aged between 14 and 19 who are at risk of social exclusion, allowing young people who are out of school and work or those with behavioural, emotional or learning difficulties an opportunity to gain qualifications – with up to 10 GCSE equivalents now available – and learn life skills through its day, evening and weekend workshops.

    The statistics prove that Wheelbase continues to benefit many young people in the Nottingham area, 22 years after its inception. On average, clients’ school attendance figure is 47% before being referred to Wheelbase. After joining this rises to 74%.

    Having worked out of a rundown site five miles outside the city for more than 15 years, Wheelbase had the opportunity to move its operations to an impressive, modern workshop in the centre of Nottingham in 2007. However funding was a significant stepping stone. This is when Big Issue Invest came into play. “We had a chance to get a building that was more fit for purpose and the loan allowed us to move into a first-class facility right in the city centre,” Michael Clifford, CEO, explains.

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (November 18-24, 2013 No.1078)

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     Pioneering UK retail investment into social sector

    LONDON 25 NOV 2013: Threadneedle Investments (Threadneedle) announces it will launch the Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund in partnership with Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue.

    The Fund aims to achieve both an investment return and a positive social outcome by investing in fixed income securities of organisations which support socially beneficial activities and economic development. Available to retail and institutional investors from January 2014, it will invest in companies, associations, charities and trusts in social intensity areas including affordable housing and property, community services, employment and training, financial inclusion, health and social care, transport and communications, and utilities and the environment.

    The Fund will launch with £10 million of seed investment from Big Society Capital, the world’s first social investment bank and £5 million from Threadneedle. It is the first fund of its kind with daily liquidity, offering retail investors access to the increasingly popular social investment space.

    Download the full press release here.

  • Big Issue Invest & The Cycle Hub - The Cycle of Life


    Cycling is on the rise in the North East, with more bikes on the road than ever. One specific organisation that has been crucial making the area “fit for cycling” is The Cycle Hub – a social enterprise co-founded in 2012 by Newcastle Cycle Centre and holiday company Saddle Skedaddle after the two groups saw the need for a place where Newcastle’s growing cycling community could meet after a ride.

    With the concept of The Cycle Hub shining bright in the minds of industry experts from Saddle Skedaddle and Newcastle Cycle Centre, they turned to Big Issue Invest to help get their feet off the ground – and firmly on the pedals. Within a few short months of receiving a BII loan, The Cycle Hub was up and running in a move that created six new jobs and brought a focal point for cycling to Newcastle, with a state-of-the-art facility on the banks of the Tyne.

    “The Big Issue Invest loan was instrumental in getting us set up and establishing The Cycle Hub. Without it we wouldn’t be where we are."

    Our partnership with The Cycle Hub featured in The Big Issue magazine (November 4-10, 2013 No.1076)

    Download the full article:
  • Big Issue Invest & Running Deer - On The Wild Side


    Founded in April 2011 by Joanna Winterburn, who has been involved in the voluntary and community sector since 1989, Running Deer teachers students about camp crafts such as collecting wood, setting and lighting camp
    fires, making seats and structures out of natural materials, cooking camp food, wild food foraging and animal tracking, to name a few activities, as well as rural skills such as coppicing, hedge laying and stone walling.

    With a grounding well established, Big Issue Invest came into play as Running Deer eyed its next step up the ladder through the purchase of 15.81 acres of woodland in the Teign Valley, South Devon.

    “The big thing is security. We own our own piece of land now that we can develop and grow as an organisation with new projects,” Joanna adds. “The Big Issue Invest loan has been amazing. Without it we wouldn’t have been able to buy the woodland and it has opened up so many opportunities for us. It will take us from strength to strength."

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (Oct 21-27, 2013 No.1074) 

  • Big Issue Invest wins award for championing social enterprise and social investment


    Big Issue Invest (BII) wins Charity Times 2013 Social Champion Award, demonstrating an outstanding service and commitment to the social enterprise and charity sectors.

    Since its inception BII has invested nearly £20 million in over 160 social enterprises, charities and community organisations throughout the UK.

    Nigel Kershaw, Chief Executive of Big Issue Invest, said: “We are extremely proud to be named Social Champion at the Charity Times Awards. Big Issue Invest is committed to ensuring that people don't have to resort to The Big Issue because we're supporting pioneering social enterprises that are capable of transforming people’s lives.”

    John Bird, Founder and Editor in Chief of The Big Issue, said: “It’s great news when we hear that people recognise the power of prevention in the community. My ambition is always to help the homeless to help themselves; but increasingly we have to prevent people falling into homelessness. This is why Big Issue Invest backs sustainable social enterprises and ventures that help tackle poverty and inequality. Prevention! Prevention! Prevention!”

    BII celebrated the win at the Charity Times 2013 Awards on Wednesday 16th October 2013. Crowned Social Champion at the Awards Gala at London’s Lancaster London Hotel, the Charity Times Awards are the leading celebration of best practice in the UK charity and not-for-profit sector.

    The Social Champion Award was presented to BII for its outstanding service and commitment to the social enterprise sector and its demonstrable positive social impact

  • Tech for Good Challenge uncovers UK’s most promising social ventures


    Eleven teams complete intensive mentoring programme to win significant investment and ongoing business support.

    The winners have been unveiled as England’s most innovative and disruptive early-stage ventures whose imaginative use of digital technology promises to have a profound impact on the future life chances of young people.

    This challenge forms part of Big Issue Invest and Nominet Trust’s commitment to turning the traditional funding and CSR model on its head by ensuring corporations truly engage with the ventures in which they are investing.

    The first Tech for Good Challenge has the support of five corporate partners: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, LDC, The MITIE Foundation, Salesforce Foundation and Unity Trust Bank, and has backing from The Big Lottery. It set out to find the nation’s brightest early-stage ventures and received more than one hundred applications from teams with technology innovations designed to tackle issues affecting young people.

  • Big Issue Invest & Citizens Advice Direct - Jobs Boost For Islands


    "If you can create meaningful and sustainable jobs for people then you should".

     When charity Advice Direct Scotland approached Big Issue Invest last year, they had an ambitious goal in mind. Desperate to deliver a jobs boost to a remote Scottish island suffering from an employment crises, the organisation, which trades as Citizens Advice Direct, had to first overcome a pressing problem - a looming lack of funds to get their new project up and running.

    "It would have been very difficult to progress with this at the time if it wasn't for the Big Issue Invest loan," explains Andrew Bartlett, head of service at Citizens. "They have always been a delight to deal with. It was never onerous and we never felt like we were being pushed into a corner."

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (September 2-8, 2013 No.1067)

  • Big Issue Invest & PHASES - Building Recovery


    PHASES is a London-based social enterprise founded by Glenn Wheaton and Stuart Allen with the aim of supporting homeless and vulnerably housed people, PHASES offers clients a route into the construction industry, bringing empty property back into use and offering social housing.

    With an extensive catalogue of renovated properties in south London already completed, the social enterprise has big plans for the future and earlier this year turned to Big Issue Invest to help complete the renovation of a
    disused Victorian house into two family-sized flats. “The finance from Big Issue Invest was for cash flow in our biggest project to date, the two flats in Brockley,” says Wheaton. “Without this, the project would not have been feasible. We should have two families in these properties soon.”

    “I was self-employed at the time and struggling to make enough money to get by,” says Daley, an ex serviceman. “I wasn’t getting paid every week and PHASES offered me the option not only of a salary every week but also the opportunity to gain experience in other aspects of construction.

    Our partnership with PHASES featured in The Big Issue magazine (August 20-26, 2013 No.1065)

    Download the full article:
  • Big Issue Invest & My Time - Time Is On Their Side


    “I didn’t have a friend before I went to My Time, it’s made me live again"

    This ethos of catering to individual needs – regardless of how unique or challenging they are – and involving clients in the running of My Time is what the organisation’s success has been built upon.

    Founded in 2002 by CEO Michael Lilley, My Time is a Birmingham based counselling practice that now supports around 1,600 clients every year. Big Issue Invest stepped in eight years after Michael opened the doors to help My Time step up to the next level.

    Since then, plans to open 10 more franchises across the UK are in full flow after the successful piloting of localised outlets in Worcestershire, Derbyshire, London, Gloucestershire and Chelmsford. “What I really love about My Time is that, just like The Big Issue, it is all about people who are perceived to be the problem but are in fact the solution – whether they be homeless and vulnerably housed or in need of mental health support,” says Nigel Kershaw, CEO of BII and chair of The Big Issue.

    Read more about our partnership with My Time is this article which featured in The Big Issue magazine (August 5-11, 2013 No.1063)

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  • Helping Sandwell Community Care Trust provide dementia care


    Our investment in Sandwell Community Caring Trust (SCCT) will enable the social enterprise to buy a 62-bed residential care home to support disabled and elderly people with dementia.

    The deal is our twelfth investment in the health and social care sector, and demonstrates our mission to use finance as a tool to help communities and people in needour mission to use finance as a tool to help communities and people in need.

    The newly built 62-bed residential care home - Hall Green - will be used by Sandwell Community Caring Trust to deliver high-quality specialist dementia care. SCCT is a social enterprise that provides housing and care services for disabled and elderly people in the West Midlands and Devon.

    The finance has been provided in partnership with Unity Trust Bank, a leading provider of loans and banking services to the social economy sector.

    SCCT chief executive Geoff Walker said:

    “Working with Big Issue Invest has made it possible for Sandwell Community Caring Trust to secure the long-term future of 100 older people suffering from dementia and other related problems. BII was flexible, creative and prepared to work in partnership.”

    Nigel Kershaw, chief executive of Big Issue Invest and chair of The Big Issue, said:

    “Our mission is to dismantle poverty and inequality, and we do this by investing in social enterprises and charities providing sustainable solutions to social and environmental challenges. We work with organisations that have a track record and deliver high social impact ­– we’ve invested in 160 so far and we want to help many more.”

    Other recent investments in the health and social care sector include: 

    •Birtenshaw, a Bolton-based charity providing services for children with severe learning and physical disabilities.

    •Midland Psychology CIC, a community interest company offering mental health and support services to children, young people and families.

    •Highland Home Carers, an employee-owned organisation offering at-home care services for vulnerable people in the Highlands of Scotland.

    Download the full Press Release below and read more about our partnership with Sandwell CCT in this article which featured in The Big Issue magazine (July 8-14, 2013 No. 1059)

    “Putting people first came over so powerfully when we first met Geoff in 1996 when he was setting Sandwell up,” says Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest and Chairman of The Big Issue Group. “This respect now runs right through the organisation and makes it such a proud investment for us.”

  • Big Issue Invest & Positive Support in Tees - Personal Touch


    Positive Support In Tees (PSIT) enables people with particularly challenging learning and mental health issues to lead fulfilling lives away from institutional care.

    The mission: to create better services for people with ‘forensic needs’, adults with learning difficulties whose behaviour is particularly challenging to service providers; behaviour that may have landed them in trouble with the law or seen them sectioned under the Mental Health Act – in short, a niche group whose profiles can make supporting them a tough old ask.

    “They are basically a group who don’t fit into existing models elsewhere,” says Dave Barras, CEO of PSIT, “and who need a high degree of personalisation to have a successful outcome.”

    BII became involved at an unusually early stage to provide the funding to kick things off. “Without Big Issue Invest we wouldn’t be here,” says Barras. “Just like The Big Issue, PSIT works with individuals who, given the opportunity and support, can take control of their lives,” says Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest and chairman of The Big Issue.

    Our partnership with PSIT featured in The Big Issue magazine (July 29-August 4, 2013 No.1062)

    Download the full article:
  • Big Issue Invest announced as National Business Award Finalist


    Big Issue Invest has been shortlisted for the Social Enterprise of The Year at this year’s National Business Awards.

    Going up against Bromford Group, Central Essex Community Services, Everyclick, Glasgow Credit Union, Hertfordshire Community Meals, Reachfor, Student@Home, Transitions Skate CIC and Vision Housing Consultancy Services they will compete for the prestigious award, with the winner being revealed at the National Business Awards gala dinner held on 12 November in London.

    Elizabeth Corrado, Head of Fund Raising, ClearlySo, judge for the category said: “Big Issue Invest, the pioneering social investment finance intermediary, grows from strength to strength with a mission driven by the desire to create broad and deep social impact underpinned by strong financial principals. It demonstrates experienced leadership and a strong management with focus on innovation in technology as a key investment theme for early stage capital.”

    Nigel Kershaw OBE, CEO Big Issue invest and Group Chair The Big Issue said: “Big Issue Invest is knocked out to be nominated for this award. We are pioneering new ways of financing social enterprises. But finance is just a tool. It is the social enterprises, working on the front line, that have made it possible for Big Issue Invest to have touched 1.7 million lives, helped 3,200 people into sustainable employment and trained almost 14,000 people”.

    Over 150 of Britain’s leading businesses, business leaders and social enterprises have been revealed as finalists for the 2013 National Business Awards.  

    Download the full press release below. For more information, please contact or 0207 526 3431.

  • Big Issue Invest & Chocolate Films - Lights, Camera, Action...


    Creativity is a crucial learning curve for any young person. This notion is at the centre of south London social enterprise Chocolate Films, which runs education and outreach programmes aiming to inspire young people from all sorts of backgrounds to voice their opinions and discover their inner creative talents.

    Chocolate Films uses digital media in innovative ways to offer over 2,000 youngsters a handson opportunity to sample the fascinating world of film-making every year. Founded as a part time project in 2001 by co-directors Mark Currie and Rachel Wang, it now employs 10 staff and works with hundreds of schools, youth groups, museums, galleries, festivals and youth offending teams to encourage individuals to express themselves through film.

    Mark says: “This money has gone a long way for us. It’s very difficult these days for a small independent company like us to get any sort of loan – even our bank couldn’t help.”

    Nigel Kershaw, Big Issue Invest CEO and chairman of The Big Issue Group, adds: “Chocolate Films couldn’t get a loan from their bank and we could help. Just shows, with a little imagination, risk and belief, what can be done to help transform people’s lives.”

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (June 24-30, 2013 No.1057)

  • Big Issue Invest & Midlands Psychology - Independence Days


    A unique social enterprise started by Angela Southall in Staffordshire is bringing young people with challenges back to their communities to live.

    The psychological support services organisation, working with children and young people, was born out of Southall’s network of colleagues and friends at the time. Their goal is to help children and young people with a range of different needs, from autism and difficulties to kids from care and ex-offenders, live more independently and in their local community.

    “I worked for 20 years managing psychotherapy services across boundaries with social services, education and other community groups. It’s always been local work,” says Southall of her passion, “to have a ‘real lives’ focus rather than a medical one”.

    This attitude of encouraging individuals to move their own lives forward is shared by Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest and chairman of The Big Issue Group. “I was so impressed when I first met Midlands Psychology,” he says. “They are great social entrepreneurs with a mission that resonates with that of The Big Issue, to help people help themselves through work and independence.”

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (June 10-16, 2013 No.1055)

  • Big Issue Invest & Talking Mats - Mats The Way To Do It


    Developed in 1998, Talking Mats was initiated by Dr Joan Murphy, later joined by Lois Cameron, speech therapy clinicians who have over the years evolved the system at Stirling University into an award-winning social enterprise serving customers in Europe and the UK.

    “Our mission is to get communication disability taken seriously because communication is fundamental to good-quality care,” says Cameron. 

    The social enterprise business was created in 2011 when the university encouraged the duo to take their system to market and quickly won a Best Start-Up award from Social Enterprise Scotland.

    But it is the small victories, not the awards, that please Cameron the most.

    Our partnership with Talking Mats featured in The Big Issue magazine (May 27 - June 2, 2013 No.1053)

    Download the full article:
  • Big Issue Invest & SCA Trafalgar - Biting Fit


    SCA Trafalgar is a social enterprise bringing dentistry to areas ill-served by affordable options. SCA runs six dental practices in the Dorset / Hampshire area, and is about to open a seventh in Swanage, an area that has had no NHS dentist's practice for the last two years.

    "If people have poor dental health their chances of finding work are much reduced, and their overall health will suffer. Oral health is a key indicator of the overall health of a community" says Matt Jarratt, Director of Social Enterprise Development.

    SCA, based in Southampton, have a number of strands to their business and are committed to health and care, with 100,000 people a year coming into contact with their services through their community transport, dentistry, care and health and wellbeing businesses. 

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (May 13-19, 2013 No.1051)

    Download the full article:
  • Big Issue Invest & Pathfinder Healthcare Developments - Good Health!


    "Honestly, I wouldn’t do this job if it wasn’t so inspiring. Everyone that works here is so passionate and the community really appreciates what we do,” says 31-year-old mum of three Shazma Bi. She is a volunteer at unique healthcare service Pathfinder Healthcare Developments (PHD), in Smethwick, West Midlands.

    Set up as a trading social enterprise by a group of GPs led by Dr Niti Pall in one of Britain’s most ethnically diverse and disadvantaged areas, PHD has sought to completely redesign the way patients interact with their services to create a modern, efficient and replicable model for use throughout the NHS. Dee Kyne, CEO of PHD says “The GPs here were tired of firefighting health issues and wanted to change things to make more of an impact in people’s lives".

    Catching people before their health deteriorates and inspiring people to take control of their lives is something that chimes with Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest and chairman of The Big Issue: “At the heart of The Big Issue’s mission is self-help and prevention and that is why Big Issue Invest feels such an affinity with PHD and their amazing work with the people in their community.”

    Read more about PHD in this article which featured in The Big Issue magazine (April 29 - May 5, 2013 No.1049)

  • Big Issue Invest & Thames Reach - Reach For The Sky


    Thames Reach is an award-winning, London-based charity that helps homeless and vulnerable people to find decent homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives. Their vision is to end street homelessness, something close to our own hearts.

    The charity has undertaken a ‘payments by results’ contract from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to navigate 415 entrenched roughsleepers in the capital into accommodation and ultimately independent living. The Ace project is a unique model and has been backed by a £250,000 loan from Big Issue Invest.

    “It’s great to be able to help finance Thames Reach’s Ace project,” says Big Issue Invest chief executive Nigel Kershaw, who is also chairman of The Big Issue. “We have worked with Thames Reach over many years, sharing a common philosophy of dismantling homelessness through prevention and self-help.”

    The Ace project is transforming lives and has helped put Graham Shelby's life back on track. Read more in the article below.

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (April 15-21, 2013 No.1047)

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  • Big Issue Invest & Moneyline - Providing a Financial Lifeline


    One amazing social enterprise is helping people get short-term credit… and battling financial exclusion while they’re at it!

    Moneyline began life as East Lancashire Moneyline in Blackburn in 2002, the vision of Ian Clough, a banking veteran committed to creating a fairer system for lower income families trying to access credit. “These families are excluded from mainstream finance because generally they only want a low-value short-term loan,” says Moneyline chief finance officer Diane Burridge.

    “Behaving like an old-fashioned bank is at the heart of what we do”.

    Since 2011, Big Issue Invest has provided Moneyline with four loans totalling £1.8m to support its rapid expansion to extend their work and develop hugely innovative plans for the future, including mobile lending.

    Our partnership with Moneyline featured in last week's Big Issue magazine (April 1-7, 2013 No.1045)

    Big Issue Invest and Moneyline were also featured in the Sunday Express print and online edition on Sunday 7th April 2013 "Big Issue arm backs small-loans company".

  • Big Issue Invest & Connection Crew - Working Your Connections


    "Connection take people from all walks of life and give them a purpose and train them up. It’s pretty incredible actually” Bobby Meggie

    Connection Crew is a forward-thinking, London-based crewing and logistics business. Meggie is a ‘graduate’ of Connection Crew, which began under the wing of Connection At St Martin’s (CSTM) in 2005. It separated to become a Community Interest Company (CIC) social enterprise in 2008 managed by Charlie Dorman and Warren Rogers. Since 2008 it has grown under their guidance and with financial help and advice from Big Issue Invest, among others.

    Connection Crew are proud to be a social business and the only one in the industry. Their profit goes to a charity and 25% of the crew are ‘work ready’ ex-homeless people.

    Read all about our investee Connection Crew who were featured in an article in last week's Big Issue magazine (March 18-24, 2013 No.1043)

  • Big Issue Invest & Highland Home Carers - The Business of Caring


    Big Issue Invest has recently invested in Highland Home Carers ("HHC") who are an award-winning provider of at-home care services for vulnerable people in the Highlands of Scotland. HHC is 100% owned by the employees and the right to share in profits is central to the social mission of HHC incentivising staff to deliver high-quality services.

    Nigel Kershaw says: “We see this as an investment in a community. As an employee owned company, HHC brings not only employment but stability to the local community. They’re not likely to run off and locate in another area! Most importantly, it means some people will receive home caring where no one else is willing to provide it.”

    This press article featured in The Big Issue magazine (March 4-10, 2013 No.1041)

  • Launch of Tech for Good Challenge


    Up to £50,000 investment for up to 10 early stage tech-focused social ventures.
    Seeking brilliant and sustainable enterprises using innovative and disruptive digital technology to support and create opportunities for young people to transform their lives.


    Application deadline 15th April 2013.

  • Big Issue Invest celebrates supporting three of the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2012 winners


    We are delighted to announce that two of Big Issue Invest’s investees – HCT Group and The SWEET Project – and one of our partners – Social Investment Scotland – were winners at this year’s prestigious UK Social Enterprise Awards. Big Issue Invest is proud to have contributed to the success of these organisations.

    Winner, Social Entrepreneur Of The Year Award - Jayne Hulbert and Jayne Cresswell, The SWEET Project
    BII are delighted to have provided finance to support the scale-up of The SWEET Project which is led by Jayne Hulbert and Jayne Cresswell who won Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Hulbert and Cresswell set up the SWEET Project in 2010 in one of the most deprived areas of Birmingham to deliver high quality work experience placements for social work students and family and child protection support for at risk families. In March 2012, BII provided a £50,000 loan to help scale-up the organisation’s activities. To date, The SWEET Project has provided placements for over 100 social work students and provided family and child protection support for 600 families in need.

    Winner, Evidence of Impact Award - HCT Group
    Winner, Social Enterprise Leader Award - Dai Powell, Chief Executive of HCT Group
    Hackney Community Transport Group (HCT) is a fast-growing Community Transport Company that provides public bus services and reinvests profits from commercial contracts into community transport services and employment and skills training programmes. HCT has demonstrated an ability to retain its focus on creating social impact, whilst becoming increasingly competitive commercially. Providing access to transport services for community members who are unable to access mainstream transport due to age, sickness, disability, poverty or lack of availability, remains at the heart and soul of HCT. BII has helped finance the scale-up of HCT since 2006. Most recently, we invested £500,000 from our Social Enterprise Investment Fund to help increase their growth and social impact. The potential BII saw in HCT has been recognised in two of the awards categories, Social Enterprise Leader and Evidence of Impact.

    Winner, Finance/Investment Deal Of The Year Award - Social Investment Scotland
    BII were one of the co-investors in the winning Finance/Investment Deal of the Year category at the awards. The £15m joint venture between Neilston Development Trust and Carbon Free Developments Ltd, led by Social Investment Scotland, financed the construction of the first wind-farm in Scotland to be developed by a partnership between the community and a commercial company. This is the first deal of its kind. Other co-investors include CAF Venturesome, West of Scotland Loan Fund and the Scottish Government Green Equity Fund. Work is now underway on the four turbine, ten megawatt capacity wind-farm, which is set to earn the Neilston community almost £10 million over the next 25 years. Neilston Development Trust will use the proceeds to fund an ambitious program of social and urban development, creating jobs and improving community facilities.


    The Social Enterprise Awards are now in their 14th year and are organised by Social Enterprise UK, the national body for the sector. A full list of UK Social Enterprise Awards 2012 winners can be found here. For more information, please contact or 0207 526 3431.

Latest News

  • Are you interested in working with us?

    We're looking for a Senior Investment Manager and Investment Analyst to join our growing team.

    Click here to find out how to apply and download the full job descriptions.


    Early stage social businesses across England are being challenged to apply for vital investment capital and business mentoring support that will potentially propel their ventures to the next level. 

    BII’s Corporate Social Venturing Challenge is back: £500,000 investment available for innovative early stage social businesses

    Click here to read more.


    New research suggests private equity can help to rebalance the UK economy, spreading growth and job opportunities more equally across regions and communities.

    The study was led by Mark Hepworth, head of research and policy for Big Issue Invest, contact:

    Click here to read more and download the full report. Read the Pioneers Post article here.

  • Big Issue Invest celebrate winning major national award

    The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, in partnership with the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA), celebrate excellence in community finance.

    Photo copyright Chris Hughes.

    At the awards ceremony in Bristol, BII were named as the winner of the Community in Partnership award and were presented with a £20,000 prize.

    This award celebrates partnerships that have improved access to finance.  It recognised the achievement of BII in its work to tackle financial exclusion through the Rental Exchange initiative, in partnership with Experian. Click here to read more.


    Pioneering UK retail investment into social sector

    Threadneedle Investments (Threadneedle) announces it will launch the Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund in partnership with Big Issue Invest.

    Click here to read more

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