Investec was built on the spirit of entrepreneurship, and we’re proud to support budding entrepreneurs who want to make a sustainable, positive impact in the local community. We do this through the award-winning Investec Beyond Business programme.

Investec Beyond Business

Investec Beyond Business is a social enterprise incubation programme which we run in partnership with the Bromley by Bow Centre. It aims to help promising entrepreneurs who are committed to creating sustainable, profit-making businesses which also generate social outcomes. The programme operates in Hackney, Newham, and Tower Hamlets.

Each year, Investec helps to launch five to six new social enterprises. The launched enterprises tackle a variety of social issues including youth unemployment, social exclusion, vulnerable families, community cohesion, homelessness, mental health, rehabilitation of ex-offenders and food poverty. Female applicants as well as those belonging to ethnic minorities are encouraged.

As part of the programme, successful candidates receive intensive support, including training and expert advice through the Investec Beyond Business College, which is run by volunteers from across the company. These entrepreneurs also receive funding of up to £20,000 each to launch their new enterprises.


jobs created


collective turnover


female leadership

Ever since Investec became the sole provider of funds for Beyond Business in 2011, the programme changed its name to Investec Beyond Business and has launched 56 social enterprises, many of them female-led and from diverse backgrounds. These businesses have created more than 375 jobs so far, as well as 54 work experience and 76 volunteer placements in the community. They have also generated a total turnover of £6.5m. Prior to 2011, Investec also supported four additional successful businesses between 2008 and 2011, when we were a junior partner in the programme.

The success rate of these social enterprises is impressive: 75% are still operating after three years. The national average success rate for new businesses is 50%.

This year, a shortlist of ten businesses pitched to the panel of judges comprising of Ruth Leas, Luke Benjamin and Tangwena Nelson. We also had two alumni, David Schluter (Fluid IT) and Sam Francis (Find a Balance) join the panel. The judging day deliberately coincides with City Giving Day in London, which celebrates the value of the City to society and shows how businesses can make a difference, as part of the bid to create a fair society. After a day-long pitching process, the panel selected six most promising social enterprises. The successful entrepreneurs will each receive between £20,000-£30,000 in seed funding, along with specialist advice from Investec volunteers. 


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Black Women in Real Estate

Black Women in Real Estate (BWRE) is a community where black women are supported and encouraged to bring their authentic self to work, are given opportunities to thrive, and improve their psychological safety. They challenge the status quo, presenting black women as industry experts and increasing the number of black women represented across businesses, events, networks, and professional bodies. BWRE create opportunities for black women to grow and sustain fulfilling careers in the real estate industry. They do this by raising awareness of the plethora of careers open to them in the real estate industry and create a community for the many black women already working in the real estate industry.

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Wax Atelier

Wax Atelier’s mission is to kindle creativity and empower individuals through the creation of sustainable wax products that radiates warmth, beauty, and a commitment to sustainability. They are driven by the purpose of reinvigorating local manufacturing, nurturing the next generation of artisans and establishing East London as a global hub for creativity and sustainability. Their dedication extends to forging strong partnerships with local businesses and facilitating the development of a resilient, hyper-local supply chain. Their vision includes a thriving community and a dynamic circular hub firmly anchored in the solid groundwork Wax Atelier has established since its inception in 2020.

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Hackney School of Food

The Hackney School of Food is an oasis of calm in its beautiful and productive gardens in an urban area of high deprivation in London. They work with communities to grow and cook delicious budget friendly food by teaching cooking skills in their purpose-built kitchen, using food to build community cohesion and healthier futures for all.

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Spiritwood is a creative construction company that uses unique and inspiring projects to deliver professional skills training to disadvantaged groups currently outside the labour market. Established on two foundational ideas, first, that construction is a great vehicle to develop technical and broader skills in a professional environment, and second, that craft or other creative production can help improve mental health. It offers a construction programme with a social and environmental agenda, delivering what is in essence a traineeship, where a variety of trades are introduced in a short space of time. Professional skills include traditional trades such as carpentry and workshop machining, as well as future-facing skills like digital fabrication and renewable energy. Creative workshops run by artisan makers are an invitation to step outside the professional setting to learn about mindful practice and well-being through creative production.

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Wild Mosaic

Wild Mosaic (WM) enables people to reconnect with the environment by bringing life back to land and restoring habitats, wildflower meadows, wetlands, and woodlands. In addition to finding suitable locations and restoring biodiversity, WM offers subscriptions to become a part of this wild mosaic, by 'adopting' a tile, so that users can create a personal connection to their own unique area through audio, visuals, and storytelling. WM is now looking to create an offering for businesses and schools. There are many organisations that are keen to go beyond carbon offsets and want to create good, rather than merely balancing out bad, whether for their employees or because it fits with their brand. Their aim is to craft a way to do this which enhances biodiversity whilst (re)engaging people with the wonders of the natural world.

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Travel Hands

Travel Hands is a service designed to ease the outdoor commute of VIP (Visually Impaired People) by pairing them with sighted and verified volunteers to walk together to similar destinations ensuring a safe, convenient, and inexpensive travel experience.

In their words

Investec Beyond Business entrepreneurs share their inspiring stories and community impact.

Ruth Rogers, founder of The Canvas Cafe

Ruth discusses where her idea for The Canvas Cafe came from and her journey to launching it through the Investec Beyond Business programme.

Ruth Rogers, founder of The Canvas Cafe

Ruth discusses where her idea for The Canvas Cafe came from and her journey to launching it through the Investec Beyond Business programme.

Elroy Powell, founder of Diverse Music Solutions

Elroy ‘Spoonface’ Powell talks about his social enterprise: “One agency, one project, one song, feed a hundred smiling children. It’s that simple”.

Project grants for charities

Outside our partner organisations, we support small to medium charities through small project grants. If you represent a charity that works in our focus areas – education, entrepreneurship and/or environment – and are local to one of our offices, you can apply for a grant. Please read the full criteria below to find out more and get in touch.

You may also be interested in:

Investec IFS awards group

Our education programme

We aim to help young people in communities local to our offices to achieve their goals in life, beyond academic study.

environment initiatives

Environmental initiatives

Learn more about Investec's work to reduce our environmental footprint, promote preservation and improve our local communities’ environment.

Investec's social investment work in South Africa

Our community work in South Africa

We strive to create economically active citizens that contribute to socio-economic growth in South Africa.