Pioneering programme for social finance innovators launches

The Finance Innovation Lab has launched an appeal for financial innovators within the co-op / mutual sectors with a social or environmental mission to be part of a groundbreaking...

The Finance Innovation Lab has launched an appeal for financial innovators within the co-op / mutual sectors with a social or environmental mission to be part of a groundbreaking Fellowship scheme.

The programme will offer business strategy workshops, peer coaching and leadership development – and is free of charge for start-ups.

Six sessions, held once a month, will have a focus on business skills, action learning sessions, and social events to build Fellows’ contacts.

Also included is a two-day residential leadership retreat, which encourages participants to learn from real-life experience instead of from inside a classroom.

The programme is open to people who are developing a financial product or service which puts social and/or environmental issues at the heart of the business model. This could include those involved in credit unions and mutuals. Although applicants don’t have to be working on their idea full-time, they must be able to show commitment to developing their business.

finance labThe Finance Innovation Lab is a charity that strives to build a financial system that serves people and the planet. As well as looking to create new business models in finance, it also works with campaigners seeking to change the rules of the game, and people in mainstream financial organisations who wish to reform their profession.

Anna Laycock, lead strategist at the Lab, said: “We’re looking for ideas that challenge the dominant ‘profit first’ focus in finance. Mutual business models are a great example: they’re more democratic, more responsive to local needs, more connected to the real economy. They have huge potential to disrupt the financial system.

“Our Fellows will experience an incubator like no other – one that recognises the realities of going against the grain in our complex financial system. Working with our wider community of innovators and influencers, we’ll build a better way to do finance.”

Although the programme has been designed with start-ups in mind, applications are also welcomed from people within existing financial organisations who want to repurpose a product or service for social or environmental impact. These organisations will be asked to make a contribution towards the costs of running the programme.

The call for applicants is open until 26 February and the programme is scheduled to begin in March. You can find more information and the online application form at www.financeinnovationlab.org/fellowship.

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