- Building stronger communities through job expansion and wealth creation is a powerful concept and one that fits perfectly with Investec’s skills and heritage.
- The success rate and track record of producing sustainable enterprises is extremely impressive - for instance the 90% survival rate of enterprises.
- There is huge potential for replication of the project in hubs across the country, learning from Investec’s experience. The multiplier effect of such activity is significant - engaging staff, suppliers and local entrepreneurs – helping to drive development in traditionally low growth parts of the country.
Beyond Business is a social enterprise incubation programme run by specialist bank and asset manager Investec in partnership with the Bromley by Bow Centre. The programme nurtures east London businesses which have a positive social impact.
Top tips from Investec
Pick an organisation that shares your values, and commit to at least a three year programme.
Commit to open and honest feedback channels and act on the feedback promptly to maintain a win-win partnership.
Be flexible, don’t compromise the depth of impact for breadth in terms of the number of beneficiaries.
Each year budding entrepreneurs, committed to creating profit-making businesses which also benefit society (called social enterprises), get months of intensive support in business planning, including access to expert advice, through the Beyond Business programme.
The scheme, run by Investec in partnership with the Bromley by Bow Centre, supports new businesses in three boroughs: Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.
These three boroughs are among the poorest in London and suffer from high rates of unemployment and other related social issues. The Beyond Business programme supports businesses which generate jobs and deliver social or environmental benefits in these areas.
Volunteers from Investec are encouraged to get involved in the project and share their expertise with the young entrepreneurs.
Each year five or six new enterprises are launched from the Beyond Business programme, giving local people access to unique and empowering opportunities, creating jobs and services for people who often face barriers to employment and social support.
Since 2011, 146 entrepreneurs have directly benefited from the programme. To date, 330 jobs have been created and countless other people have benefited from the work carried out by the social enterprises.
Investec is an international specialist bank and asset manager which provides a diverse range of financial products and services to a niche client base in three principal markets - the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia.
It has supported the Beyond Business programme since 2008 and in 2011 stepped up to become the sole funder, when other funding avenues disappeared. Now Investec covers all costs of the programme, including funding the charity to employ two full-time team members.
Finding enterpreneurs with the right stuff
The programe is advertised across the three boroughs, and receives about 200 applications each year. Applicants are given support, signposting and/or business plan development as they are whittled down to a longlist of 20 organisations.
An interview process is used to select eight applicants, which each receive another four months of support and mentoring before the final five or six enterprises are chosen.
These successful candidates receive funding of up to £20,000 each to launch their enterprise. They also receive training and support at the Beyond Business College, which is run by volunteers from across Investec for three one day sessions at the company's offices.
Modules include organisational development, IT for start-ups, HR for new employers, and sales, PR and marketing. This year entrepreneurs received a pack of tailored course materials, including contact details of Investec volunteers, on completing the College, which they can use to build their skills over the two years of additional support they get from the programme.
The Bromley by Bow Centre (BBBC) was chosen as a partner by Investec employees, from a shortlist. Investec invested over £200,000 in the project in the year to March 2016. Investec itself was started by entrepreneurs and continues to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit in the way it does business.
Entrepreneurship is one of the three focus areas of Investec’s Corporate Sustainability programme and the partnership with the BBBC provides a valuable opportunity for skills based volunteering which benefit both the charity/BB programme and the volunteers.
What the Chair of the Judging panel said:
"Investec’s support of the Bromley-by-Bow centre is a long term commitment that is creating real value for several key groups: employees by developing their skills; entrepreneurs by supporting the development of their ventures; and the local economy, through the creation of employment opportunities as well as organisations that are tackling key local issues. The judges got a clear sense that the support of social entrepreneurs is something that is engrained in Investec's values and there is compelling executive support for the programme. Such a model was felt to be clearly replicable across the country in due course." - James Russell, Director of Corporate Communications, Experian
What Investec's Group CEO said:
“Our culture and values are based on a desire to contribute to more than just profits. We not only build sustainable businesses that can contribute to macro-economic stability but also look to contribute to society and to our natural environment. We have always believed that sustainability in its broadest sense is about managing and positioning the group for the long term and we do this by focusing on three key areas of people, planet and profit.” - Stephen Koseff, Chief Executive Officer, Investec Group
- The programme is bringing economic regeneration to some of the poorest areas of London and 146 entrepreneurs have been supported.
- Beyond Business has created 330 jobs and delivered countless social value via the companies it has nurtured.
- The skills based volunteering involved provides an excellent opportunity for Investec employees to hone their related knowledge and skills, for a tangible social impact.
- Many potential Investec clients are entrepreneurs and the company has been able to feature interviews from the programme on its private banking website.