Catalyst Fund Management & Research, which currently manages a financial services sector focused venture capital fund, has begun to market a new fund in the social sector, which is a joint venture with The Big Issue. Catalyst already has its work cut out since it is busy working towards the first closing of its second financial services fund, expected in the first half of next year. The Big Issue publishes The Big Issue, which is sold around the UK by homeless people with a view to giving them dignity and a network of advice and help.
The fund, targeted to be approximately GBP50 million, will share its profits with The Big Issue. The fund’s primary focus will be on creating financial returns.
The social sector, which Catalyst defines as those companies whose business activities on their own produce a social return, includes areas such as: education, health and renewable energy.
Surging demand for ethical and environmentally sound products and the shift from provider to purchaser by local authorities, are two examples Catalyst cites of the favourable climate for growth in the social sector.
Sourcing potential investments will be bolstered by the network enjoyed by the fund’s advisory board, which includes some well known social consciences and the likes of Morley Fund Management, which has a commitment to socially responsible investment.
Catalyst’s advisory board for the social sector fund is comprised of John Bird, CEO & founder The Big Issue, Maria Clancy, co-founder or Organis Express the social brokers, Gerald Holtham, chief investment officer at Morley Fund Management, Charlie Parsons, co-founder Planet 24 and MD of Castaway Television Productions, Gordon Roddick, co-founder and chairman of The Body Shop International plc, John Studzinski, deputy chairman or Morgan Stanley and Charles Leadbeater, journalist, writer and Demos research associate.