My new year’s wish

2015 has been a tremendously exciting year at HCT Group, not least because of our landmark social investment deal. We’ve raised £10m from a range of social investors, charitable trusts, other social enterprises and even a high street bank. The deal will enable us to carry on growing and, most importantly, to increase our social impact. It shows that the social investment sector can deliver for social enterprises like us.

And yet, there is a ‘but’. A deal like this takes some time to put together, meeting upon meeting firming up interest and ironing out the details. During the 12 or so months it took to set up, I met 72 different decision-makers across the social investment sector. 63 of those decision-makers were men.

In social enterprise, I believe that we make the world we want through what we do. It’s no surprise to me that 40% of social enterprises are led by women. The closer social enterprises are to reflecting our society as a whole, the more likely they are to be in step with the needs of our communities and achieve their social objectives.

If we are to build a sustainable financial ecosystem between the emerging social investment sector and social enterprises themselves, it is vital that the social investment sector better reflects the organisations it seeks to support. Not doing so is to miss an important opportunity - to create something markedly different from mainstream finance, rather than to recreate it in a different guise.

So whilst we have been successful and we are proud to work with our partners, my one big new year wish for the social investment sector as a whole is to take equality seriously - to create a sector that we can all be proud of and to create a sector that reflects, not just social enterprise, but society at large.

Wishing all our stakeholders a merry festive season and a happy new year.

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