Big Issue Invest (BII), the social investment arm of Big Issue magazine sold by the homeless in the UK, has closed its inaugural corporate fund after five partners signed up.

The Spark Corporate Social Venturing Challenge will invest £500,000 in 10 early-stage social enterprises as well as providing them with mentoring and business support to ensure they are resilient and efficient.

Nigel Kershaw (pictured), chief executive of BII, said: “Going great guns with the Corporate Social Venturing programme and we have secured all the partners – Nominet Trust, Salesforce, Mitie, Unity Trust Bank, Merrill Lynch and Lloyds Development Capital.”

The closing follows his guest comment in Global Corporate Venturing magazine last year calling for partners.

BII has invested more than £18m ($25m) to date in enterprises that include chef Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, which offers apprenticeships to marginalised young people; social care organisation Turning Point; and War Child, which is…

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