A busy day talking about Social Impact Bonds yesterday with two enthusiastic groups.
Firstly, Diane Mak and I did a webinar for a group of students on the Social Business programme at the French business school, HEC. It was great to speak to a group of people who are choosing to spend some time focusing on the issues that we work on day in and day out – how can we help social businesses to be able to address the many ongoing problems in our society? It’s a good opportunity for us to share our learnings with the potential future leaders in this field. The students asked lots of detailed questions, and were particularly interested in how we can broaden the investor base by making the vehicle more tax-efficient – something we are looking into.
Secondly, I led an informal lunchtime discussion about Social Impact Bonds with the sustainability experts at Forum for the Future. Aside from being very impressed by their technological skills (people skyped and video-conferenced in from their offices outside London), I was enthused by their interest in the model and their probing questions about its applicability in other fields – could this help the government to achieve its environmental goals? There’s no reason why not, so long as there’s a commissioner willing to pay for the outcome, and effective interventions that can achieve them. (Our technical guides provide a useful framework for thinking through whether a SIB is feasible.)
We enjoy talking about SIBs to other organisations and we are keen for there to be a wide range of organisations exploring how SIBs can help increase investment and improve outcomes.
By Eleanor Stringer, Associate at Social Finance