The Brabant Outcomes Fund is a public/private financing methodology to stimulate the scaling of impactdriven enterprises.
Social businesses come up with smart more integrated sustainable solutions for societal challenges such as creating jobs for people with poor job prospects, taking lonely elderly people out of their isolation, often combined with more “green” ways of production of healthy food or a decrease of food waste. These businesses are the frontrunners of a socio-economic transformation towards a purpose economy: an economy in which the creation of societal value and conscientious business practices are central.
But the scaling of these businesses has 3 bottlenecks: when estimating the value of these business, investors look at financial value, not at the social and ecological value. Financial support of governments is fragmented due to silos between and inside policy bodies. These businesses mainly act on the cutting edge of public and private tasks.
To tackle these barriers, the province of Noord-Brabant set up the Brabant Outcomes Fund (BOF): societal challenges are the starting point instead of budgets and (top)sectors. Public and private investors work together with impact and learning experts to financially support the scaling of impact based on predetermined results. The first is emphatically a learning phase for all the stakeholders involved.
The BOF gives social enterprises a better chance of receiving growth capital, investors are presented with a more attractive proposition and public money from the government is used in a result-oriented way
Foundation of private investors (provides the working capital for the enterprises): 900.000 euro.
The BOF: 1.000.000 euro (to pay back the private investors with interest).
Budget for hiring impact, learning, legal experts: 200.000 euro
Evidence of success
Theory of change: solve barricades that hamper the scaling of social businesses, in order to achieve a purpose economy. Actors in this transformative practice: provincial organization, experts, governments, (social) businesses, international partners. First results: 82 registrations, 5 enterprises selected for a result-based contract. This learning by doing process attracts the attention from internal colleagues, (inter)national partners, we get several invitations to share our first insights.
Mutual learning with different actors of several cultural/ historic backgrounds based on existing financial and public systems is new. It takes a lot of efforts to listen to each other and stay in the learning mode together during a transformation process based on the learning practice.
Potential for learning or transfer
Share lessons and transfer of the transformative practice to support implementation of smart innovations:
- include other outcome-payers like insurance companies, local/national government
- stimulate the cooperation between 'traditional' and social enterprises to improve entrepreneurial skills, share network, stimulate scale and facilitate the purpose economy
- assess and monitor multiple impact and pay for multiple value,
- give a loud voice to the beneficiaries when estimating the value,
- stimulate public/private cooperation and how to support and facilitate the mutual learning process of the transformative practice in order to solve societal challenges, stimulate socio-economic transformation by achieving system change.
Stimulate: the scale of impact of social enterprises via innovative financial instruments based on impact driven approaches, for example by an outcomes fund, knowledge on multiple impact, interregional cooperation on socio-economic transformation.
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