Social impact fund reaches key milestone

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A social impact fund backed by the University has reached a key milestone of £1 million invested.

The Growth Impact Fund, developed by Big Issue Invest (BIIFM) and UnLtd and supported by the University, was set up to help social businesses grow their impact. It has now provided a further £500,000 in investment to two social purpose organisations, taking the fund’s total investments made to £1m.

The Growth Impact Fund is a £25m evergreen fund, investing in early and growth stage organisations, delivered by UnLtd: The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs and BIIFM, to help create a more equitable Britain. The Fund has attracted close to £10m of capital so far, including a £1m investment from the University of Edinburgh’s Social Investment Fund.

The University’s investment is part of its social investment and entrepreneurship strategy which aims to support organisations delivering positive impact for communities, with a particular focus on communities across Scotland and the UK.

The University of Edinburgh’s Social Investment Fund

The fund has made a £250,000 investment in Lightning Reach, a platform that has facilitated more than £6m in grants to individuals in need of financial assistance and registered more than 60,000 users.

An investment of £259,482 was also made to Harry Specters, which produces luxury chocolates while contributing towards addressing employment needs for the neurodiverse community. The company employs autistic adults throughout its organisation and offers work experience to autistic young people at school and college to help them to access employment in the future. Founded by Mona and Shaz in 2011 as a means of supporting their autistic son, the company now employs 12 neurodiverse individuals and has provided more than 200 autistic people with free training and work experience.

Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University, said: “We’re proud to support the Growth Impact Fund, which has reached the key milestone of £1 million invested within its first year and has given real support to diverse-led organisations. Startups like Lightning Reach and Harry Specters are demonstrating that social enterprise and innovation can tackle inequalities and vastly improve the lives of individuals in marginalised communities.”

Find out more

Growth Impact Fund 2023/2024

Social enterprises interested in the Growth Impact Fund can visit Big Issue Invest’s website to learn more, or email