Good news for social innovation in the UK where the Innovation Foundation Nesta has launched a 25 million pound investment fund to support local communities and improve the lives of children and older people
A 25 Million Pound investment fund, this is the initiative launched by UK Innovation Foundation Nesta, to support new social ventures that could help improve the lives of children, older people and local communities through innovation. The announcement was given by Joe Ludlow, impact investment director at Nesta, who explained the reasons behind this new initiative on the Guardian, on Thursday: “The number of people over 65 will rise by 65% in the next 25 years, and already over half of NHS spending is on older people.” He writes. “Our young people are struggling to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and experience they need to get work – we're in the bottom third of OECD countries for reading and maths, and one in six 16- 24-year-olds are Neets (young people not in employment, education or training) . And while we're all concerned about increasing energy costs, 20% of UK households live in fuel poverty and half of these homes live in energy inefficient housing.”
Isolation and social disengagement of older people is one of the social challenges which have been tackled by Nesta over the last year through innovative projects such as The Good Gym and The Amazings, the social enterprise which helps over 50s sell their skills.
“As investors in innovation, the investments we make will be to fund great ideas or prototype products but without proof that these innovations really work when we invest.” Writes Ludlow. “With our investment capital behind them, social ventures need to increase the number of people they are serving and demonstrate that their innovation does work. Unless social ventures demonstrate these objectives, we'll have to stop funding them.”
To assess the evidence of impact Nesta published “Standards of Evidence for Impact Investing' a short paper that describes five levels of evidence of impact and how they are applying this thinking to the discipline of impact investing.