Our impact on enterprises and people

Our mission is to help build an investment ecosystem that supports impact-led organisations to address a range of social issues and reduce inequalities in the UK.

This section aims to illustrate and highlight the breadth of enterprises and people our investments support through the fund managers and social banks we invest in, and the social impact that these enterprises create across the UK. The examples in this report are intended to provide insight into the broad range of outcome areas, business models, geographies and end-users that our investments are targeting.

  • 3,500+

    organisations have received social investment from Big Society Capital since 2012

  • 75%

    of enterprises taking on investment are targeting vulnerable and/or underserved groups of people

  • 60%

    of enterprises that have received investment are located within the most deprived areas of the UK

We collect the data points below on our investments, to track and communicate our impact on the enterprises taking on social investment and the people benefiting. While we don't collect “number of people reached” consistently across our entire portfolio, we know from fund managers’ impact reports that our investments help create important outcome changes for large numbers of people:

Read more about the data points we collect across our portfolio, regarding the types of enterprise and people benefiting from our investments and market-building efforts.

About the data in this report

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

We track our investments against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and our outcome areas as defined in the Outcomes matrix to help us understand our market-building work and how that contributes to addressing social issues in the UK. Rather than allocating capital or setting targets based on preferences across SDGs and outcome areas, we work collaboratively with impact-driven fund managers to invest our capital in organisations that are addressing the most pressing social issues to improve the lives of people in the UK.

We code our investments based on their alignment to the SDGs on a primary, secondary, and tertiary basis. This provides insight into the top three SDGs each investment is supporting; however, many investments will be targeting more than three SDGs and therefore will not always capture the full range. The visualisation below focuses on the primary SDG alignment. The primary SDGs that feature most dominantly by commitment value across our portfolio are:

Primary SDGs across our portfolio

  • 33%

    Sustainable cities and communities

    Investment actively fostering sustainable urban development

  • 27%

    Good health and wellbeing

    Investment contributing to enhancing health and wellbeing

  • 20%

    Affordable and clean energy

    Investment supporting initiatives to drive energy affordability and transition

Case study

Open door

Bridges Outcomes Partnerships created Refugee Better Outcomes Partnership (RBOP) to support refugees with integration and employment via two outcomes partnerships.

Open door is a delivery partner for a social outcomes contract operating in the North-East of England, supporting newly granted refugees with access to stable housing and employment.

Outcome areas

What outcome areas are social investment targeting?

Our investments are deployed across a range of social issues, or outcome areas. We tag our portfolio by outcome areas to understand the social issues and outcomes our investments are aiming to support and achieve. A large proportion of the portfolio will be delivering across multiple outcome areas. For this report and insight purposes, we have focused only on the primary outcome area as per the Outcomes Matrix.

  • 10

    outcome areas

  • 35%

    of investment (£) targeted to housing and local facilities

  • 21%

    of investments by number targeted to employment, education and training

Housing and local facilities has been the top primary outcome area over time, reflecting the ability to find alignment between the scale of need, amount of capital required and investor goals around social property through social investment. These investments cover a wide range of business models within social property, including supported housing addressing both short- and long- term need, affordable housing, community housing and residential services providing nursing home and children’s homes care.

By number of investments, 21% are delivering social impact within the education and work sector. These investments span social lending, impact venture and social outcomes contracts, and cover a wide range of business models including social enterprise recruitment agencies, EdTech initiatives, youth services and early years support.

Case study

P3 charity

P3 Charity purchases housing and leases it to people who are socially excluded or at risk of homelessness. P3 also offers housing-related support services in areas including mental health, substance misuse and money worries which may affect their ability to cope.

User groups

Who is benefiting from social investment?

We tag our portfolio with user groups to understand the range of end-users that social investment is supporting, and to enable analysis of the wider context of the users an organisation is working with.

  • 75%

    of enterprises supporting underserved and/or vulnerable groups

  • 13

    identified underserved and/or vulnerable groups

  • 29%

    People living in poverty and/or financial exclusion is the top user group identified over time

22% of enterprises that have received investment to date have targeted the “general population”. This category is selected when the primary user group is not a specific vulnerable and/or underserved group, however it will not capture individual underserved and/or vulnerable people or geographical areas that are underserved. The primary user groups of investment to date include people living in poverty and/or financial exclusion, people experiencing homelessness and older people. These user groups are supported across a wide range of business models, including affordable and accessible personal lending, short- and long-term transitional housing, and residential nursing and domiciliary care.

Case study


Plend is an ethical lender, providing affordable and fair credit to those locked out of affordable finance and everyone in need of credit. They aim to give everyone a chance to access a loan they can afford.

Business models

What business models are social investment supporting?

Our business model groups provide insight into how capital is allocated to drive financial returns and impact. The categories provide insight into the flow of investment into different business models. Our aim is to build out our business model insights to help influence investors and fund managers to design and deliver propositions that direct greater capital at scale to high-impact business models and develop a shared understanding of the relationship between financial and impact performance.

Business models graph

The most invested business model our investment has targeted is supported housing – short-term and transitional need. This is investment used to support the integrated provision of housing and support for those with short-term and transitional needs, such as people who are experiencing homelessness, people who are fleeing domestic violence, people with mental health conditions, those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, and ex-offenders. This is based on the amount committed (£) and reflects the significant investments made within the social and affordable housing market system.

In 2024 we will be continuing to build out our business model analysis to further refine the models that we have identified and map our portfolio to share relevant insights with investors and fund managers. The aim of our business model analysis is to achieve an improved understanding of how business models drive impact and value. It will allow investors, fund managers and others to develop the appropriate investments products to effectively support social enterprises, charities and social purpose organisations, while delivering on the risk, return and impact preferences of different investor groups.

The case study below is an example of community-owned renewables, which describes investment used for community-owned utilities, including energy generation assets, that can provide affordable energy and/or other services (eg broadband) to the community, and a long-term income stream to be spent on community benefit initiatives

Case study

Ambition Community Energy

Ambition Community Energy is a grass roots group charged with the regeneration of the residential area of Lawrence Weston, for the benefit of its 7,200 residents with 3,200 homes.

Geographical reach

Where does the investment go?

We have invested in over 3,500 enterprises to date, and the map below shows a selection that have received investment through the fund managers we work with and have shared their postcode data with us.

We map these investments by local authority, and use the index of multiple deprivation (IMD) to assess the relative deprivation of places where the organisations that have taken on social investment are based. This data can be reviewed by the number of investments or by the total value of those investments, which both show a similar pattern of distribution across IMD Quintile 1-5.

Although we don’t specifically set targets on the geographical reach of our investments apart from in our lending portfolio we use the IMD as one measure to help us determine whether social investment is reaching those most at need, and ensure our investment is wide-reaching across all regions of the UK. Looking ahead, we want to overlay alternative geographical data sets such as Census household deprivation indicators, to complement our IMD analysis and further understand where more localised deprivation hotspots may be overlooked.

  • 3,500+

    enterprises that have received our capital

  • 70% +

    committed outside of London

  • 60%

    3% increase from 2020

    of investments reaching the most deprived areas of the UK

Case study

Open kitchen

Open Kitchen uses a mix of edible food stopped from going to waste, and sustainably produced local ingredients. The social enterprise turns this mix into bespoke catering menus for meetings and events- plus nutritious meals to be sold from its vibrant café in the Centre of Manchester.