Big Issue Invest is the Big Issue’s specialist provider of finance to social enterprises, and Deutsche Bank has participated in this £3m first tranche as an anchor investor.
Colin Grassie, CEO of Deutsche Bank in the UK, explained to the audience why the Bank was keen to be an early mover in social investments: “Deutsche Bank views social investments as a sustainable and intelligent way to build on our existing CSR activities in the UK, and we are eager to bring our core skills in the capital markets to this growing asset class.”
He said that he admired the Big Issue brand and felt the fund had great potential, adding, “We see a tremendous ability to make an impact. This cornerstone investment is a step in the right direction.”
The evening featured a Q&A session between the audience and a panel of individuals active in social enterprise:
- Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive, Turning Point
- Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
- Sarah Forster, Director of Development, Big Issue Invest
- Nigel Kershaw OBE, CEO, Big Issue Invest and Chairman of The Big Issue
- Tiina Lee, Deutsche Bank’s Head of UK Strategy
- Eric Lonergan, Hedge fund manager, M&G Investments
- Lord Nat Wei, advisor to the UK Government’s Big Society project
Social investments sit somewhere between charitable donations and funds that purely maximise financial returns, and their attractiveness lies in the way they can create long-term benefits for the communities involved, whilst creating a sustainable flow of funds in years to come.
Big Issue Invest’s investments include Jamie Oliver’s “15” Foundation; War Child, the international charity that uses the UK music industry to help children living in war zones (and a contender to become one of DB’s Charities of the Year); and Hackney Community Transport, a fast-growing, Company that provides public transport while creating local employment and training opportunities in east London.