Social impact finance must become more customer friendly

Social impact finance must become more customer friendly

missing out on great opportunities

i-genius founder Tommy Hutchinson says it is time for social impact investors to make a greater effort to bridge the communication gulf with social entrepreneurs. Speaking this week on funding models for social businesses at a conference in Zagreb, Croatia, organised by the British Council and the Ministry of Labour and Pensions Systems, Mr Hutchinson said “financial services is one of the least customer friendly industries and it is a great disappointment that those who provide social business finance have done so little to be different. The language and methodology is wholly supply led and does nothing to adapt to the needs of their customers. For many social entrepreneurs, the process of raising finance is baffling and intimidating and as a result, social finance investors are missing out on many great opportunities.”

The conference took place at a time when mainstream banking in the UK is under major scrutiny for its failure to lend to small businesses. In his speech, Tommy Hutchinson, who worked for a bank in the City of London for ten years prior to establishing i-genius, calls upon lenders and facilitators of finance to get rid of opaque industry language and simplify their methods. He argues that changes in these areas and a greater efforts to understand the underlying nature of the businesses they are assessing would benefit both social entrepreneurs and those who claim to be willing to provide finance to them.

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