What you’re about to read is an actual (ahem…metaphorical) conversation between a social enterprise and investors who claim they’re social investors too…
Social Enterprise: “Oi, Social Investors! You’re into investing in social projects – would you like to know about ours?”
Social Investors: “Errm…”
Social Enterprise: “But you keep telling everyone you’re wanting to invest in social?”
Social Investors: “Gotta go. See ya”
OK, so pardon my facetiousness, but, you can’t deny this is a very valid point.
Seriously, what is it with investors claiming they’re up for investing in social enterprises and projects, yet, when it comes to crunch time, they literally run for the hills?
And worse still, these so-called investors prefix themselves with social!
It really is time to decide – are you willing to forgo financial return for social return?
You’ve been talking the talk about wanting to invest in social enterprises for over a decade now but most of you aren’t walking the walk – you’ve got £m of money that you haven’t invested because the financial risk is too great.
That tells me and other social entrepreneurs a lot – you’re more concerned about financial returns than supporting social returns.
There. I said it.
I actually implore you to prove me wrong.
Yes, I get that you want the money repaid, but social enterprises aren’t the same as small businesses – we have better survival rates – about three times more survive, in fact.
We’re also growing more than traditional businesses, so assuming you’ve got a spread of different types of social enterprises across your portfolio, you’re already mitigating most of your financial risks.
Put plainly – Social enterprises are a safer bet.
Ah, bet you didn’t look at it like that, did ya?
So, in the name of all things that socially good, please let’s stop talking about access to capital being a barrier – it’s not the lack of capital – there’s £m out there for social enterprises to have.
The real barrier is that social investors are risk adverse.
Maybe it’s because many have grown out of grant making trusts or charitable foundations (who find risk terrifying), and have created the same culture within their social investment fund.
But it’s time for you to review what you’re doing – have you got the balance right between social and financial returns?
If you’re reading this and hating me right now, then my guess is that you haven’t.
But, my friend, if it’s struck a chord with you, and you feel now’s the time to give back and aid social enterprises to do their incredible work, then let’s talk – I can guarantee you’ll come away feeling like you’ve just had a 1:1 with Ghandi.
Email me: Heidi@heidilfisher.com to strike up the conversation.