Does ‘investment’ add value?
The chapter considers some of the origins of social finance and analyses eight different types of investment that are sometimes conflated under this title. It critiques some of the discourses around social finance and notes the weak evidence base on the actual value added of bringing investment approaches and methods into the social sector. A detailed analysis of the development of the UK ecosystem for social finance draws upon the author’s own involvement in some key initiatives. Four key challenges are highlighted around returns, definitions, impact, and scale. The chapter concludes with some observations concerning the likely future development of this field.
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