Big Issue Invest secures cash for social investment fund

Nesta and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation pledge support

A social investment fund set up by Big Issue Invest has received £1m in investment from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and £750,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The fund, which was announced in April, will provide long-term capital to social enterprises. It will make between 25 and 30 investments of between £100,000 and £500,000, with an expected average term of five years.

Nigel Kershaw, chief executive of Big Issue Invest, said the Nesta investment was the second largest it had received so far and that several other substantial investors were interested.

"We're hoping to raise more than the £10m we originally aimed at," he said.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, chief executive of Nesta, said he believed that social enterprises could support problems that had been "unresponsive to conventional solutions" and traditionally required taxpayers' cash to solve.

"Our social finance programme is showing how catalytic investment such as this can create lasting change," he said.

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