Launched in 2014 as the first public Social Impact Fund in Spain and managed by Seed Capital Bizkaia, the FEIS (Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Fund) was created to use public resources to fill the gap in the private market for impact capital, to prove that impact investing can be profitable and to promote impact investing as part of the global SDG strategy of the Government of Biscay.
When the fund was to be expanded to invest in bigger investment opportunities, public resources where insufficient and it has been decided to bring in additional investors from the private market. This led to the transformation of the public impact fund into a public-private impact fund, effective as of September 2021.
Since 2014,the Biscay region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has been advancing and innovating with the assistance of Seed Capital Bizkaia, a Provincial Public Council Company affiliated to Biscay Regional Council’s Department of Economic Promotion (Departamento de Promoción Económica de la Diputación Foral de Bizkaia, DFB) and involvement of both public and private shareholders. Its mission is to promote, develop and invest in innovative and / or socially innovative projects and companies.
The Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Fund (FEIS) was established in 2014 with the aim of supporting the promotion and consolidation of business initiatives with social impact. The legal frame of the creation of the Fund was the European one, following the rules to obtain the status quo of a European Social Impact fund.
The impact fund, initially received €1.6 million, 100% provided by the DFB – Provincial Council of Bizkaia.. At the beginning of the project, back in 2014, this project was a 100% public project on which all the analysis, following and financial decisions were made by Seed Capital Bizkaia´staff. Seed Capital Bizkaia has established a unique non-financial assistance mechanism acting as a venture builder, and offering strategic development and impact measurement The Seed Capital Bizkaia’s Social Angels Programme establishes links to private individual experts that accompany selected projects and the entrepreneurs alongside the development of their initiatives, providing their knowledge and experience, and even actively participating on the boards of directors.
In October 2021, three leading private entities in the social field joined FEIS: Fiare Banca Ética, Anesvad Foundation and San Prudencio Labour Foundation. This collaboration represents an important boost for the commitment to socially responsible investment and is an example of a public-private collaboration.
The new partners brought in additional capital FEIS fund, and are now part of the investment committee. They will also provide their knowledge in the investment area as they participate in the committee, but they will also bring new impact start ups to propose new investments to the fund
As indicated before, Seed Capital Bizkaia founded the Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Fund in 2014. After 7 years of existence, good financial and impact results have been obtained in Biscay. It is too early to make a statement of the result of the new public-private partnership.
Our aim is to influence at least half of the SDG criteria, obtaining measurable positive impact in them. Additionally, we expect to maintain the job creation rate of 162 employments per 7 years and to increment the CO2 avoided tons.
The aim of trying to sign a collaboration agreement with private entities, allowed us to get in touch wih all of the impact investment related entities and actors in Spain and with many abroad, getting a more realistic and bigger image of impact investment in Spain and in the EU. It was beneficial for the collaboration agreement that we already knew each other. The principal issue was dealing with the regulator, as we were a public fund becoming a public-private one.
Advice to Peers
- Working on the real flow, not just the money flow. Put special view on factors of production, such as labor or land, that flow from individuals to companies, as well as the flow of goods and services from companies to individuals.
- Specialisation of financial products (impact investment fund for example) will attract specialised partners with enormous knowledge on the field, engaging both public and private actors of the impact investment ecosystem.
- Thinking globally (impact investment) but acting locally (Biscay) will grant you quick and measurable results and can also avoid you to implement projects that are global tendencies but that do not really fit in a specific territory.
- Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Fund (FEIS) (EN)
- FEIS – Fondo de Emprendimiento e Impacto Social (ES)
- EVPA Policy Nexus Case Study, Seed Capital Bizkaia, December 2020 (download here)
- Bizkaia CoLab Award Submission
Asier Areitio Ibarlucea (administration and finance) firstname.lastname@example.org
Amaia Arrizabalaga (financial analysis) email@example.com
Oscar Ugarte (Manager) firstname.lastname@example.org