Ignite was incorporated in August 2013 and we launched the Big Energy Idea in December. We now have a years’ experience of working with entrepreneurs and impact investing. So we thought now would be a good time to start to share our thoughts and experiences and add to the ever growing pool of knowledge within the social impact investment eco-system.
Ignite was, and still is, the UK’s first impact investment fund with a focus on energy. We believe that energy entrepreneurs have a vital role to play in building a better society and we’re here to help them achieve their potential. We are backed by Centrica plc and at the launch of Ignite Sam Laidlaw, Centrica’s CEO said, “I believe that the answers to society’s challenges do not lie solely with the private sector or the public sector, but with social entrepreneurs, in communities, and in cross-sector partnerships. I am passionate about the potential for Ignite to help find and grow energy related social enterprises to innovate and create these answers."
In the UK, we need to invest to close the energy gap – £110 billion is needed over the next decade to keep the lights on and to keep homes warm as older and more polluting power stations are closed, 38% of social enterprises are based in the top 20% most deprived areas, so investment in social entrepreneurs who try to tackle the challenges which the hardest-hit in society individual customers and communities face, forms a key part in solving the energy challenge.
In addition to funding we recognise that entrepreneurs need support to help and grow the impact they have. Over the last year we have committed investment to five organisations and are currently working with ten entrepreneurs to get them investment ready. We will be sharing some of our experiences in our next blogs, and I have the pleasure of introducing Sam Salisbury to our team as our Investment Principal.
One of the things that has really struck me is the level of collaboration that we have experienced from all of those that we have worked with and I would like to use this opportunity to thank all of our friends for their support, encouragement, introductions, navigation, decoding and belief in us to make Ignite into the fund it has become. We are proud to be celebrating Ignite’s first birthday and look forward to many more, with that I raise a glass to the team, to our investees and our friends – to Ignite