The social investment market grew by more than a quarter during the pandemic, according to data from Big Society Capital (BSC).
The figures also show that social investment has grown almost eight-fold since BSC was founded in 2011. It now stands at £6.4bn, measured by the value of outstanding investment deals at the end of the year.
BSC announced last month that it planned to double the size of the market again within the next four years, as part of a new strategy which will see it invest in socially-minded technology start-ups and focus more work in the most deprived parts of the country.
‘Acceleration’ in growth during Covid year
The data is included in BSC’s Annual Market Sizing Report, which was published last week.
BSC said in a statement that, after year-on-year growth in the size of the social investment market, there was “a particular acceleration” in 2019-20, when the value of investments grew by 26%.
Some of this growth was a result of funds launched to help charities and social enterprises access finance during the coronavirus crisis, including the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund, set up through a partnership between Social Investment Business, BSC, and other lenders.
Stephen Muers, the chief executive of BSC, said: “Social enterprises and charities have been a fundamental lifeline for many of the millions who were furloughed, made redundant, or isolated from their regular social networks and support.
“They became frontline services for the nation and have played an important role in the recovery.
“Despite this, the mainstream funding challenges persist for many of these organisations, so it comes as highly welcome news to see the burgeoning growth of social impact investment from the private sector, alongside increasing investment from both local and national government.”
Muers continued: “But this is only a fraction of what we believe is possible over the next few years.
“Momentum is building and social impact investment has a huge role to play. We aim to at least double the capital going into UK social investment, to between £10bn and £15bn by 2025.
“More and more investors are realising that it is possible to deliver both a social and financial return and so we are confident the market is on track to meet this ambitious target.”