This year’s South West Marketplace took place at the iconic Colston Hall – which is undergoing somewhat of a transformation itself – in Bristol. It was our third Marketplace event and was a great opportunity for investors to meet, and celebrate with, the social enterprises they have invested in and hear about the amazing social impact they have had on their local communities during the last year.
Five social enterprises (Somerset Wood Recycling, Bristol Braille Technology, PAPER Arts CIC, Community Mentoring and Support and Bristol 24/7) joined us, sharing their journeys, social impact achievements, challenges and ambitions. Some of their goals for the coming year includes creating employment opportunities, planning a sustainable business model and providing quality support to young people.
Daniel Brewer, Resonance’s CEO, welcomed everyone to the Marketplace by sharing some of the highlights achieved in the last year, such as increasing skills and confidence through sport, mentoring and supporting young people at risk of exclusion and promoting literacy with new technology. In different ways, these social enterprises are having positive, social impact by helping to dismantle poverty, injustice and inequality and transforming lives. He explained, “Each of the social enterprises we’ve backed in some way not only contribute to solutions but do so with a business model that can scale with investment.”
He also explained that three overarching themes have emerged in the three years since the Fund launched:
These themes not only affect Bristol but the wider South West too, and form part of the basis for expanding the Bristol SITR Fund to cover the wider geographical area of the South West. Daniel said, “Bristol was well suited as the focus of the first of Resonance’s regional SITR Funds but the issues that exist in Bristol are the same as those in the wider South West, which is why it made total sense for the Fund to expand its geography. The South West is home to significant wealth both in terms of finance and skills, as well as a long-established network of individuals committed to investing their resources to bring about long-term social change. But it is also a region that has areas of persistent poverty and inequality, being home to some of the most deprived communities in the UK.”
We also heard from Liz Roberts, Director of Somerset Wood Recycling who gave a presentation charting the progression the social enterprise has made since 2007, highlighting their key aims:
She explained that during the thirteen years that the social enterprise has been operating, over 2,000 tonnes of waste wood has been recycled, over 3,500 individuals had volunteered and over 600 long term unemployed people had been supported into employment. This is just one story; hearing how the social enterprises invested in are having such a huge social impact is incredibly rewarding and one of the reasons why our Marketplace events are so important in helping us all recognise the achievements made – a real cause for celebration!
There was also an interesting discussion and Q&A session during the evening hosted by Resonance Investment Manager Katalin Juhász. She was joined on stage by Richard Elliot, an early investor in the South West SITR, and James Evans, Chief Executive of Community Mentoring and Support. Their discussions covered their backgrounds and routes into social enterprise and social impact investing and in particular, who they chose the Resonance South West SITR Fund from the perspective of both investor and investee. You can read the full interview here.
And last but not least, we were so lucky to have food catered for us by Square Food Foundation, a Bristol based social enterprise. Square Food offers life-changing cookery courses and classes and cater for private events to subsidise their work with schools and community groups in Bristol.
To find out more about the Resonance South West SITR Fund click here.
Resonance Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 04418625
Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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