Big Issue Invest (BII), the investment arm of the Big Issue magazine, has invested £3m in Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency Homes for Good (HFG).
The deal is thought to be BII’s largest social investment, as it takes over from HFG’s founding investor Impact Ventures UK, which was founded by Sir Ronald Cohen.
Homes for Good, founded in 2013, provides a solution to the lack of affordable, quality housing to people with limited housing choice in and around Glasgow.
It has attracted significant backing in excess of £12m to date from IVUK, Big Society Capital, Charity Bank and Social and Sustainable Capital, and plans to double its portfolio and expand around the UK.
The £3m investment from BII is the largest investment from its Social Enterprise Investment Fund II (SEIF II) to date.
In a statement, the deal was said to represent a “landmark moment for HFG, with IVUK securing a successful exit, having backed the social business group in 2014.”
Susan Aktemel, executive director for HFG, commented: “This significant deal clearly shows that it is entirely possible to make strong financial returns from social investment while putting money to good use to change people’s lives for the better.
“I am delighted to see BII, a perfect partner for us, become a shareholder and join the Homes for Good family. This has created a strong foundation for our future growth, and paves the way for further investment, as we embark on a £20m raise in the coming years to deliver our vision of creating high-quality, affordable homes for those who may otherwise struggle to access them.
“IVUK has for the last six years been a superb partner for Homes for Good – it saw the opportunity that I did early on in our journey, and have supported me and the Homes for Good team at every stage of our growth so far. Our shared values and vision of using investment capital to change lives has allowed us to deliver the success we have to date. It is a proud moment and a real pleasure to deliver an early exit to our first investor.
Meanwhile, Danyal Sattar, CEO at Big Issue Invest, said HFG’s values align closely with BII’s.
“It is especially important that organisations such as Homes for Good are able to continue their excellent work at a time of great uncertainty for those with housing needs.
“This is our largest investment out of our Big Issue Invest Social Enterprise Fund II and shows the kind of backing we can give to our partners. We like to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organisations and that is what we find in Homes for Good.”