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New Mission-Led Investment Venture To Support Scotland’s Social Entrepreneurs

A new mission-led investment venture aimed at stimulating social entrepreneurship in Scotland has been launched by leading responsible finance provider Social Investment Scotland (SIS).

SIS Ventures plans to provide the tools and mission-aligned investment required to help early stage businesses and social enterprises grow and deliver social impact at scale. The company is in the process of seeking authorisation from the FCA, under a wholly owned subsidiary of SIS.

Over the next three years, SIS Ventures hopes to set up funds to raise up to £5m of new funding – utilising both Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). The plan is to provide debt and equity to entrepreneurs, particularly those early stage ventures that might struggle to access investment from existing sources and have a mission to deliver impact at scale.

SIS Ventures plans to leverage the power of business to help address society’s greatest challenges and needs. Beneficiaries of this investment will include both traditional social enterprises and mission-led businesses, which create and sustain employment, improve health and fitness, support the homeless and those marginalised within our local communities.

Veteran Scottish investor Bill Crossan will be appointed Chair of the new venture as part of an experienced Board comprising a mix of impact investors, traditional investment managers who understand the market opportunity, and individuals who are committed to drive positive impact.

Bill Crossan and Thomas Gillan
Bill Crossan and Thomas Gillan

Board members will include:

  • Susan Aktemel, Director, Homes for Good
  • Alastair Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Social Investment Scotland
  • Thomas Gillan, Chief Officer Finance & Strategy, Social Investment Scotland
  • Morag McNeill, Director, Social Investment Scotland
  • David Ovens, Chief Operating Officer, Archangels
  • Mike Wooderson, experienced investment professional
  • Amanda Young, Head of Global ESG Investment Research, Aberdeen Standard Investments

All board appointments remain subject to regulatory approval.

Bill founded Growth Capital Partners (GCP) in 1999. He brings with him 30 years’ experience investing in growing mid-market companies, both from an equity perspective with 3i and Close Brothers and from a senior lender’s position with the Bank of Scotland.

Thomas Gillan, Director of SIS Ventures said: “At Social Investment Scotland we believe that impactful enterprises, those that deliver profit and purpose, should be the bedrock of society; supported with the full power of the investor community. We know that many individuals today have a genuine desire to invest in activities that benefit society which is why we created SIS Ventures Limited.”

Bill Crossan noted: “The investment world has come a long way in recent years. Where previously impact-first investment lacked both credibility and visibility among the investor community, we’re now beginning to see more investors come on board with the idea of backing businesses who can produce both a financial and social return. This is, in part, due to the increased value placed on social impact at board level, but also an increased desire among Scotland’s entrepreneur community to pursue a profit-with-purpose model. It’s a hugely exciting time to be working with such an ambitious team and I’m looking forward to helping SIS Ventures make its name within Scotland’s early stage investment space.”

Nick Kuenssberg, chair of SIS, commented: “We are delighted to have been able to attract Bill to this important ground-breaking venture company. With him in the chair and a strong board, we are now in a great position to move forward to the next stage of rolling out our first fund.”