Fair by Design Fund

Venture fund, investing debt and equity in early-stage businesses aiming to eliminate the poverty premium in the UK.

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The challenge

In the UK, around 10 million people have to pay extra costs for the same goods and services as people who are financially better off. This is called the poverty premium, the extra cost of being poor. We were introduced to this by Julia Unwin of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, who we then worked with to design a program to eradicate the poverty premium by 2028.

Our approach

We sought out the best partners with track records in addressing poverty, establishing a steering group determine the best way to tackle the issue. Our work led to the establishment of a fund alongside a campaign program funded by grantmakers and run by the Barrow Cadbury Trust. Fair By Design campaign works with regulators, government, business and the social justice sector to change the system and design out the poverty premium.

The fund

The Fair by Design Fund is a venture fund that invests in organisations tackling the poverty premium. The early-stage businesses receiving investment from the Fund provide services in sectors such as energy, insurance, borrowing, transport and food. The fund’s investment process includes a focus group of people with lived experience of the poverty premium, run by Toynbee Hall. This group assesses the true customer fit of all ventures considered for investment.

  • Fund size

    £14.7 million
  • Better Society Capital commitment

    £6 million

Key information

  • Geography

    UK wide
  • Investment type

    Enterprise equity
  • Fund manager

  • Investment status

  • Investment date

  • Term

    10-12 years


  • 8

    Number of ventures supported

  • 93,899

    Number of people benefiting

Sustainable development goals

  • 1: No Poverty End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • 3: Good Health and Well-being Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 7: Affordable and Clean Energy Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • 10: Reduced Inequality Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable