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Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Big Society Capital: the world's first social investment wholesale bank

Authors: Alex Nicholls and Jess Daggers

Big Society Capital (BSC) is a financial institution set up for the purpose of building the market for social investment in the UK. This case study examines the various initiatives, policies and strategies that were relevant to Big Society Capital’s creation, as well as the rationales behind them. It describes the process of setting BSC up and the challenges faced in getting things up and running.

It is hoped that this analysis will be useful reading for practitioners, policymakers and students interested in understanding BSC and for the wider social investment market internationally in terms of offering insights into an innovative model of a wholesale banking institution. This case reveals the development of Big Society Capital as something of a ‘secret history’ by focussing on the individuals, sets of relationships and pivotal events that led to its establishment.

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