Social investment

At the Bikuben Foundation, we are engaged in helping create a sustainable change that lifts more young people from the edge and strengthens their life skills. One of the tools that has the potential to create change is social investment.
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In the social area, we work to create sustainable initiatives that strengthen young people's life skills and evolve from individual projects that close when project funds expire. Social investments have the potential to ensure a better anchoring of an impactful effort.

With social investments, the main focus is to achieve results that create both the desired change for the citizen and at the same time provide a budgetary economic gain on public budgets. It is also a tool for challenging the system-created barriers that exist in the social field - where the gain of an effort is not always reaped by the one who delivers and pays for the effort. We see the method as a supplement to the way we develop and support the social area in Denmark.

We believe that strong partnerships across the stakeholder field are crucial if we are to seriously develop the area of social investment.

The Bikuben Foundation supports the development of social investments in following ways:

  • We support an organization that delivers results that an authority wants to pay for. The payment that the organization obtains, can be reinvested in themselves to further develop the organization. Thus, we use venture capital to support innovative development in the field.
    Among others, we have supported the Social Capital Fund with the initiative "Growth with the Social Bottom Line", which has worked with investment models in Gladsaxe and Herning Municipality to help citizens on the edge of the labor market obtain jobs.
  • We provide loans to a supplier who reimburse the money when they achieve the agreed results and receive payment from the municipality. It is a model that we are currently testing with the Social Capital Fund, and which we look forward to following and gaining the initial experiences.
  • We use our capital to provide a deficit guarantee, thus gearing other investors in the field to invest when they know that a foundation is willing to take the utmost risk.
    The Social Investment Fund, Hjem til Alle, Aarhus Municipality, the Bikuben Foundation and the Council for Social Investments have entered into a social investment program in Aarhus - the first of its kind in Denmark. The goal is to move more young homeless people into their own homes, better well-being and, for the most resourceful, to get a job. The Bikuben Foundation provides a deficit guarantee that makes the Aarhus case more attractive for investors.
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  • We support increased knowledge sharing across the field.
    We do this partly by donating to the Social Investment Fund, and partly by being members of the Advisory Board.
What is a social investment?

In a social investment program, an authority, a supplier with professional expertise and an investor work together to implement an effort that can create both life improvements for the individual and in the long run create profit on a public budget. The investment program starts by the investor making capital available to the supplier, who can then initiate the effort. If the effort has the agreed effect and thus creates social change, the authority pays the investor back plus a return. That is, unlike what is often done, you pay for results rather than activities.

Three barriers

In our effort to promote social investment, we see three barriers that need to be addressed.

1. Documentation of coherence
It can be challenging for social organizations in general to be able to demonstrate the direct and documentable connection between their efforts and the results achieved.

2. Long-term efforts and narrow thinking
As an authority and municipality, it can be challenging to test social investments, where the result only becomes apparent over time and across administrations and sectors.

3. Sharing experiences
If we are to succeed in implementing social investments, we must have a common language for what social investment is, how it can be established - and where it makes sense to implement the mindset of investing.

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