Investment Manager Katalin Juhász looks at the impact women are having on the growth of the social enterprise sector.
Around 41%* of the estimated 100,000** social enterprises in the UK are led by women addressing social problems and challenges, often those affecting women and girls.
At Resonance we are proud that three out of the seven social enterprises invested in last year by our South West Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund, were run by women.
These social enterprise entrepreneurs are creating innovative, inclusive and collaborative ways of doing business, finding creative solutions for - and generating positive outcomes to - societal issues that also benefit their staff, customers and communities. And through these social enterprises, women are proving that they can not only empower themselves but also the women and girls they support too. Their enterprising models also offer potential for scaling-up their businesses but often require third party investment to do so.
One of the social enterprises run by a woman and that the Resonance South West SITR Fund invested in last year, was Leading Lights Health and Wellbeing Community Interest Company. This a small but dynamic organization in Bristol working with young people and children with social, emotional and mental health needs, providing a range of specialist education and wellbeing niche services and support. Last year they received a £75,000 investment from this Fund to enable them to develop their city centre hub space, create a brand-new community café, deliver a new range of much needed projects to help young people and to expand their existing outreach services.
Sarah Louise Hopkins from Leading Lights said: “We are just absolutely thrilled that this amazing support that Resonance has given us will allow us to help more wonderful children and young people to thrive. Many of them have been through so many adverse experiences and fight every day to overcome the barriers that society puts in their way because of their mental health needs. They are truly inspirational and being able to finally launch Glow: our first specialist hub, having more staff and more capacity – all of which this loan allows us to do - will make a huge difference to how much we can help them to achieve what they deserve over the next few years. We are all glowing! It has given us a real chance at building sustainability for the future and to have real impact.”
Investment Manager Katalin Juhász supports the social enterprises that are looking to receive investment from the Resonance South West SITR Fund to prepare for potential investment.
She explains: “A good description of what I do in helping social enterprises prepare for investment would be ‘their critical friend’ – I am there to support them, ensuring conditions of investment are met but it’s also my job to be rigorous and to ask those more detailed, tough questions about their businesses.
“Every social enterprise journey towards social impact investment will be different which is why I spend time with each one through a combination of face-to face meetings, mini workshops with the senior management team and Board and countless calls and emails. I am keen to build strong relationships with the social enterprises I work with providing the level of support that each social enterprise needs – it’s very much a bespoke approach.
“The amount of time it takes from an initial inquiry through to investment varies depending on the needs of the social enterprise. The important thing is that they are not alone in their investment journey – I am there to support and guide them from those initial conversations through to investment and beyond. My approach means that I gain a solid understanding of what each social enterprise is trying to achieve, their goals and ambitions and how SITR investment can support them. It allows me to really get to know the people behind the social enterprise, their motivations and what drives them as well as understanding their key focus or vision and their investment need.
“I am particularly excited that during 2019 three out of the seven social enterprises who received investment were led by women. It’s an ambition of mine that we see more women actively engaged and taking full advantage of social impact investment such as the Resonance SITR Fund to help them grow their mission led businesses, scale up their social impact and support growth of the sector.”
If you are a high impact social enterprise looking for investment to grow the impact you make, you can find out more here.
* The Big Issue, 2017
** With employees (2017 report Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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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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