ASPIRE leadership programme

As the social impact investment market develops and grows, so do the organisations and teams within it.

  • 49 Number of participants in the ASPIRE and INSPIRE leadership programmes – Data from ASPIRE and INSPIRE evaluation
  • 24 Number of participants from fund managers and other intermediaries
  • 17 Number of organisations represented on ASPIRE and INSPIRE programmes

The challenge

As in all entrepreneurial areas we know ultimately our success will be driven by the people in the organisations we support. Since 2015 we have had a Talent Specialist working with teams across our portfolio. To further aid the development of teams across the sector, we launched a leadership course in 2018 for our staff, and staff from the fund managers, arrangers and infrastructure organisations we partner with.​

Our approach

ASPIRE is a 12-month programme that helps participants develop their leadership, and learn about: the nature of the teams they lead; how to create good environments that enable high performance; and how to coach their teams. It includes residential days, webinars and 1:1 coaching. Two cohorts from Big Society Capital and the fund managers, social bank and other intermediaries we work alongside took part in the programme. In 2019, the INSPIRE programme (a similar programme, this time for senior staff) ran with a cohort of CEOs and leadership teams from across the social impact investment sector. ​

Impact and learning

Thirty people took part in the ASPIRE programme, across two cohorts – half from fund managers, social banks and other intermediaries across the sector and the remaining half from Big Society Capital. Twelve leaders from across the sector took part in the INSPIRE programme, with our seven-person Executive Committee joining alongside.

Participants reflected that the programme helped them grow, mature and engage as a leader, and grow in confidence and self-knowledge. People felt better able to support their teams, and made tangible changes to their leadership style. As the programmes brought together people from across the sector, attendees acknowledged that the ripple effect was significant, helping to build and strengthen networks and developing long-term relationships. Working closely together with peers helped to break down barriers and change perceptions, and many participants felt reconnected with the sector they care so much about, and invigorated by the difference they are making to so many people’s lives.