Social stock exchange on the horizon

Work is under way to create a stock exchange for UK social enterprises. Social investment experts Pradeep Jethi and Mark Campanale have established the Social Stock Exchange Ltd and plan to create a market aimed at enterprises with annual turnovers of more than £500,000 that have been trading for three years or longer.

Jethi, the project's chief executive, is to approach the estimated 300 UK social enterprises that qualify to ask if they will join and to canvass opinion. The study, endorsed by the Office of the Third Sector, should be completed by March.

The sector needed a new finance facility, claimed Jethi. He said: "Lack of finance infrastructures is one of the inhibitors to the growth of the third sector, because it doesn't allow the use of capital to flourish."

Campanale said the scheme was already attracting interest. "We have just approached a small number of people in a focused way and they have indicated quickly that they are very inspired by the idea," he said.

There has been growing interest in a social stock exchange. In September, Oxford's Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship proposed a transparent, ethical stock exchange to create liquidity and discourage speculation (Third Sector, 5 September). In the spring, Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband met the Social Enterprise Coalition and Triodos Bank to discuss the idea (Third Sector, 23 May).

The Office of the Third Sector also endorsed an initial study by the Social Stock Exchange founders to consider how the exchange would operate.

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