Introducing our new Practice Guide: Investing in Innovative Social Ventures

The Nesta Practice Guide series is designed to share our practical insight and knowledge around innovation approaches, and we’re pleased to launch the fourth guide in the series - Investing in Innovative Social Ventures.

Many entrepreneurs are using the power of innovation and technology to address difficult social issues, and since the early 2000s a growing number of investment funds have been created to target social objectives as well as financial return. Here at Nesta, we launched Nesta Impact Investments (NII) in 2012 as a £17.6 million fund to invest in high impact social ventures run by passionate entrepreneurs. Funded by Big Society Capital, Omidyar Network and Nesta, NII helps social ventures with inclusive and scalable innovations to grow through a combination of finance, networks and expertise.

Written by Joe Ludlow and Katie Hill and produced by the Innovation Skills team, we’ve created this guide to share Nesta's experience, insights and developing practice around investing for social impact. It builds on the work of many organisations in the UK and around the world, and is aimed at non-financial institutions who have recently started or are considering using impact investment approaches to fund the development and growth of social innovations.

The guide will help you to:

  • Learn about the role of ventures and investment within social innovation.
  • Understand how impact is created, and how investment can help increase the impact of social ventures.
  • Explore reasons for becoming an investor in social ventures, and the factors that might influence this decision.
  • Understand some of the practicalities of being an investor.

Rather than offering prescriptive methodologies, the purpose of the Practice Guide series is to introduce and help readers make sense of different innovation approaches. In that vein, we’ll continue to develop the series as these areas of innovation progress and our knowledge deepens.

As we continue with the series, we greatly appreciate any feedback or comments. Please get in touch by emailing [email protected], or visit the Innovation Skills section of the website or Nesta Impact Investments.



Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Content and Communications Manager, Innovation Skills

Isobel worked in the Innovation Skills team as Content and Communications Manager, helping to build Nesta's learning and development offering.

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