At the heart of Portugal’s response to the increasing social challenges is the work of social organisations. (…) Organisations like Fruta Feia and ColorADD are leading the movement in Portugal to rethink and reshape how to approach social problems. .
(..) there are already concrete examples of social investment initiatives and social innovation that are taking place, most recently the announcement of Portugal’s first Social Impact Bond in Lisbon to improve childhood education and achievement.
Portugal is now at an inflexion point. The market is poised to grow and is ready to share its experiences with other European and international partners as part of a global social investment market, helping to address some of society’s most pressing social challenges.
Today, we have the opportunity to shape the market’s direction and purpose. We must work together – social organisations, government, intermediaries, universities, consultancies, and investors – to help the market realise its potential.
Recognising the need to harness momentum, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation convened the Taskforce in July 2014, funded by the European Commission, to support the development of and provide leadership to Portugal’s emerging social investment market.
At its best, social investment (…) can encourage investment in prevention, scaling innovative and proven programmes, building capacity within the public and social sectors and delivering social impact.
The Portuguese Social Investment Taskforce is an independent initiative convened by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and launched on the 4th of July, 2014.
On this day, the Taskforce members gathered for the first time in a session that was aimed at discussing the scope of the project, clarifying key concepts and discussing the workplan. The Taskforce was divided into sub-groups according to each member’s profile and expertise; each sub-group focused on targeted priority topics.
The members were given the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences from the UK and Canadian Taskforces.
Launching a Portuguese Social Investment Taskforce was in line with the European Commission’s strategy for the promotion of social innovation throughout Europe. Therefore, the project received funding from a Call for Proposals within the context “Supporting the demand and supply side of the market for social enterprise finance”.
In October, each of the three subgroups met in parallel sessions. The members discussed and defined the key priority areas in Portugal that should be subject to a detailed assessment and whose feasibility should be analysed.
Subgroup #1 – Knowledge and Market Intelligence:
Subgroup #2 – Capacity building for impact and investment readiness:
Subgroup #3 – Financing mechanisms for social innovation:
The key findings and decisions from subgroup meetings were taken to the following plenary session, in November 2014.
This session brought all its members together to share with the wider group the priority areas defined in each parallel session.
The Taskforce also had the opportunity to learn about the growing social investment market in Continental Europe and got to know case studies from Spain, France and Italy. This presentation was made by EVPA – European Venture Philanthropy Association.
The months between November and February consisted mostly of research undertaken by the teams of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Laboratório de Investimento Social and Social Finance UK. Based on the priority areas defined by the members, a research note for each priority topic was written to inform the following plenary meeting.
The February plenary session was moderated using a storyline of an illustrative social investment project, touching upon all priority areas and illustrating how they could be transformed and consolidated into recommendations.
The research papers were prepared solely for the purpose of providing an overview of the topic to Taskforce members and stimulating discussion. They are not intended to be comprehensive and they do not reflect the individual opinions or views of any organisation unless expressly stated.
April was a productive month. The Taskforce reached over 60 people through four focus groups held in Lisbon and Oporto, with the aim of collecting qualitative feedback on the final recommendations from a wider audience of practitioners.
The focus groups topics were: 1) Youth unemployment; 2) Capacity-building for impact and investment readiness; 3) Financial mechanisms for social innovation; and 4) Social Innovation in the public sector.
Alongside focus groups, April was also a month to individually touch point with Taskforce members. These individual meetings helped collect additional feedback and enhanced the members’ engagement towards an action plan to be implemented in the following years.
In the beginning of May, the Taskforce gathered for a final plenary session. The inputs from the February plenary session, complemented with qualitative information from the focus groups and individual meetings, informed the first draft of the report and a roadmap for implementation which served as the main basis for discussion.
The final report of the Taskforce, containing five recommendations to catalyse the social investment market in Portugal, was publicly launched in June 2015 in a public event – the Social Innovation World Forum’15.
This 2-day forum gathered not only the members of the Portuguese Social Investment Taskforce, but also representatives of similar international initiatives, policy makers, social innovators, academics and philanthropists to discuss social investment, as a global agenda towards 2020.
For more information on the SIWF’15, please visit the website.
To watch the public presentation of the report, as well as other panels presented at SIWF’15, please click here.
The Taskforce’s mandate is not yet finished.
After the launch of the final report, the progress on the implementation of the five roadmaps will be monitored on an annual basis.
The Taskforce has gathered in february 2016 to discuss the monitorisation process and to be updated on the market developments.
The final report of the Portuguese Social Investment Taskforce is the main output of the work conducted over these 12 months.
In this document, one can read about the five recommendations made by the members to catalyse social investment in Portugal. Each chapter addresses one specific recommendation and discusses its relevance; inclusing a list of relevant national and international best practices and the respective lessons learned. Based on these, the members have developed actionable roadmaps for the implementation of the recommendations.
Representatives of influential institutions in the country from the public, private and social sectors
On relevant topics, including a glossary and a guide with the fundamentals of social investment
Members gathered to discuss a national strategy to catalyse the emerging social investment market
In which small groups of members have thoroughly discussed priority topics for social investment
The support team met with taskforce members to collect their views on the group’s work and feedback on the first draft of the final report
Gathering different profiles of potential social investment market players to discuss the feasibility of the final recommendations
Which represents a blueprint for Portugal’s emerging social investment market, consolidating the Taskforce’s work
Made by Taskforce members, addressing the different elements of a robust and well-functioning social investment market