Hear From Our New Head of Impact
We’re really pleased to have Lindsay Wake in post as our new Head of Impact. The Head of Impact role is a significant milestone for SIS, and we’re looking forward to seeing how Lindsay brings her expertise and passion to our social impact approach and support offering. Below, Lindsay shares her thoughts on this new position and SIS’s role in the social impact space.
October 2019. Here I am, Head of Impact, at Social Investment Scotland (SIS). What a privilege and responsibility. It’s a new role for SIS, and a quick internet search shows there are few other Head of Impacts out there. So, what will I be doing?
While I may be new to this role, I’m not new to SIS. In my first 18 months, as Business Support & Development Manager, I have been fortunate to work with a team so fully committed to improving the lives of people in Scotland and beyond. SIS is a novel, mission-focussed organisation, and quite unique in my view.
The team has extensive commercial expertise and wide-ranging connections in the third and social enterprise sectors, as well as investor circles. They also are trusted and respected experts, earned over 18 years in the social investment field. As a result, SIS has significant opportunities to strengthen and grow impactful organisations; opportunities that can take a number of forms and are the bedrock of the impact we create.
SIS’s core activity, from its inception in 2001, has been increasing the flow of finance available for social enterprises and charities so that they can create greater social impact in communities. Now, over £70m of loan funding has been pooled and deployed by SIS so that organisations can sustain and/or grow their impact. Arguably, without the team’s proactive fund development, overarching desire to help Scotland’s social enterprises achieve great things and SIS’s position of respect and influence, these funds would not have existed or been available to those who need them.
SIS is an enabling force, helping organisations professionalise their capabilities particularly in terms of commercialisation, impact, risk and governance. The team support organisations to shape their plans and enterprise, ready for social investment. SIS helps social entrepreneurs and enterprises understand social investment concepts and options, while also creating new opportunities for enterprises to grow. For instance, the SIS Retail Academy 2019 made 29 separate introductions between social enterprise sellers and commercial buyers, and SIS’s Ambitions Masterclass programme took social entrepreneurs on a journey from managers to leaders.
In 2018, SIS launched the pioneering impact investment fund, SIS Ventures, which is now actively investing in impactful enterprises addressing some of society’s greatest challenges and needs; whilst advocating that business founders develop ethical business practices from the outset.
For me, SIS is clearly already an expert in impactful entrepreneurship and has been for years. My role is to further develop SIS’s impact practice – defining, measuring and communicating the impact we aim to make through our investments and enabling activities, and then charting our progress in getting there. I will also be working with our customers to develop their impact expertise, and alongside other like-minded people and organisations, to progress impact practices for the good of people, place and planet.
This is a role that lets me act on my personal beliefs – promoting fairness, wellbeing and caring for everyone; and action on climate change – everyday. What’s not to like.
If you’d like to speak with Lindsay or learn how SIS can support you in your journey to greater impact, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.