Project: SIMPL. Exeter (Social Investment Market Place Links)
This is a joint initiative across Exeter CVS, Plymouth VCSE and Torbay Community Development Trust to create a viable and vibrant market for social finance in Exeter and Devon. The project involves developing a sub-regional Social Investment Market Place Links (SIMPL) approach that brings commissioners, investors and VCSE providers to deliver a “buy social” strategy. The project will develop a market for smaller VCSEs to access social investment finance by creating links to new investors able to offer smaller sums, and fostering enterprise networks that deliver across the joint sub-regional footprints of health, police and crime to address local issues related to housing, addiction, criminal justice and health inequalities.
The project will:
- engage commissioners, build their skills and knowledge making them less risk-averse to social investment finance and better able to use combined data – a commissioners’ summit will be held to bring common themes together and share learning;
- engage VCSEs, building their skills and knowledge, offering training and resources in relation to social investment;
- emerging social entrepreneurs and VCSEs will be supported through training, one-to-one support and networking;
- work with South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN), a membership network of various NHS trusts with the aim of improving health and creating wealth in the South West, and Resonance Social Investment Funds to develop sub-regional investment strategies and support for creating social economy responses to social and community challenges (ageing, housing etc.);
- develop a joint web platform using separate SWAHSN funds to host tools and resources and provide brokerage for partnerships and collaborations.
The SIMPL group of voluntary sector infrastructure organisations anticipate a range of shared impacts, which include: a) Provider markets become more diverse in the local commissioning space. b) VCSEs develop a greater understanding of opportunities for social investment and adapt their business models. c) New social businesses have more entry points to local markets, are better connected to build collaboration and to share learning and support. d) Commissioners have better knowledge, awareness and understanding of the role of social investment leading to better outcomes. e) Investors better understand market needs, adapting models and products through dialogue with providers and commissioners. f) A more diverse range of products are created. g) Learning emerges locally to inform all actors within the social marketplace. Learning is evaluated and shared widely. h) Community infrastructure (both VCSE sector support, and social enterprise networks) are strengthened and recognised by all actors within the social marketplace as pro-active brokers to respond to social need.