Letter from MD

Thank you for being an integral part of our journey at The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC) since 2008. It’s an exciting time for us as we step into our 11th year in business.

During 2018, we surveyed past and current clients. Inspired by our purpose, this 10 year juncture provided opportunity to reflect on the values we bring to maximise social impact, and how we can meaningfully move the social investment agenda forward.

When we speak of social investment, our interest extends beyond the technical and financial instruments to generate financial and social returns;  more than that, we seek to leverage funding, networks and expertise to create and amplify social returns.

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Bonnie Chiu

Managing Director

A global network

In the past 10 years, we received tremendous interest from many clients based outside of the UK, such as Germany, the US, Kazakhstan and the Middle East, to name a few. We established a global network of franchises in Hong Kong, Qatar, Italy and Ivory Coast, led by experienced and ambitious individuals embedded within their countries and regions. We started our 11th year in business with a much stronger footprint in Asia, servicing five new countries – India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar.

What has the expanded global network taught us?

First, we are exposed to new thinking and examples from emerging markets. We keenly want to learn from, and collaborate with, other cultures and knowledge paradigms, from Islamic finance to Gandhian economics, to diversify thought leadership. This will help accelerate the development of new models, rooted in local contexts, to fund social change.

Second, we learned that there is a lot of scope to activate alternative sources of capital to fund social change. We see a move from aid funding to local and diaspora funding, especially in rapidly growing economies like Indonesia and India. With our global network of practitioners and franchises, we are excited to be influencing the flow of local and diaspora capital towards social change and impact.

Emerging themes

To enhance our clients’ impact and influence in the wider sector, we are embedding two cross-cutting themes in our work: diversity and inclusion, and technology.

  • Diversity and inclusion helps us all achieve more social impact

Diversity is not a tick-box exercise – true diversity of thought, experiences and markets provide strategic value and a differentiator to organisations, which serves to shift attitudes, behaviours and societies. People need to be at the heart of the design, implementation and evaluation stages.

We have to be intentional about who is included in decision making, to enable diverse voices to influence social change. Last year, we were thrilled to launch the Diversity Forum, a network of UK impact investors committed to diversity and inclusion, supported by the Connect Fund. Increasingly, we are sharing more on investing with a diversity and inclusion lens, via Forbes.

We believe that listening to end users who are, essentially, a part of the solution, is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do;  they help us unlock more opportunities to create social change. As such, we have been using new evaluation approaches that shift the power from funders and NGOs to end users. Our insights paper, Inclusion of User Voices, and our new flagship methodology for inclusive Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, USERS, offer the opportunity to dive deeper into the rationale, benefits and a pragmatic toolkit for integrating this approach.

  • Technology helps accelerate social change

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, it is clear that we need ambitious technology to create impact faster, cheaper, better. In addition to our consultancy and research offerings, we are offering tech-enabled, open-source solutions to our clients. We launched Ideas4Good – supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation – a platform to help charities and social enterprises explore commercial income.

We partnered with SPRING Accelerator to produce a web-based Investor Toolkit with a focus on investing in girls and young women. We are currently incubating Humanity Data Systems, with seed funding from Humanitarian Grand Challenges, to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve aid delivery in conflict zones.

We are proud of the progress we’ve made over the past 10 years and excited for a future of social change and impact. As we actively seek collaborative partners to progress the social change agenda, we welcome conversation and ideas you may have for us.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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