In this session on “shifting product”, we will run an exercise to generate ideas for how social investors could provide a more helpful range of products to social entrepreneurs.

Social enterprises do not have access to the same kinds of financial products as their more commercial counterparts. In particular, there is a deficit of long-term and risk-tolerant finance. Partly, this is to do with some of the features inherent in many social enterprises – asset-locks that limit private gain; the pursuit of social returns at the expense of financial ones. But it is also partly a challenge for socially minded investors and intermediaries: are we trying hard enough to find new,
more imaginative solutions to the problem?

This session invites social investors and intermediaries to come together to hear about each other’s experiences in product innovation. We hope that the case studies and ingenuity of the people in room will spark discussion around the principal factors of usefulness in social enterprise finance – namely longevity (AKA patience), affordability, risk-tolerance and flexibility. This session will provide breathing space to generate ideas for new and more helpful products – thereby shifting the existing product paradigms (i.e. going beyond short-term unsecured loans and long-term mortgages) and in so doing, shifting more financial product.