North Belfast Ethical Investment Portal

The North Belfast Ethical Investment programme was a Social Investment Fund (SIF) revenue project that aimed to develop and diversify the social economy in North Belfast. To realise this aim, NBEI provided investment and technical assistance to support social enterprises that were looking to redevelop an existing asset, acquire a new property or develop a new business idea located in the SIF North Zone. Examples of assistance provided by the programme included architectural, planning and design services, business planning and economic feasibility work, legal and marketing support as well as the recruitment of project staff and bespoke business mentoring. In the long term the programme aims to reduce the social economy’s reliance on grant aid/public funding and help local social enterprises in North Belfast become more resilient and financially sustainable.

NBEI was delivered by a project team that included representation from the Executive Office, the Strategic Investment Board and the Department for Economy. The Ethical Development Trust is a unique partnership between the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI) at Queens’s University Belfast and the social enterprise LEDCOM. The learning from the research is currently being taken forward in the context of a series of new initiatives being supported by Innovate UK, the Swedish Research Council and the Halifax Foundation.

The North Belfast Ethical Investment Portal aims to promote best practice and share learning experiences from programme delivery. The research component of the programme was divided into 4 individual activity areas. Each of which aimed to monitor and communicate the programme’s impact over its life course but also disseminate learning and best practice across Northern Ireland’s social enterprise sector and beyond. Produced and managed by academics from CESI at Queen’s University Belfast,  the content of the 4 themes is being built upon by new research investment in this area.

NBEI-EDT North research activity areas

NBEI-EDT North market research provided the North Belfast Ethical Investment programme with sector research and market intelligence which has been used to test the viability of certain social enterprise ideas located within the boundary of the SIF North Zone. Some of this research was also applied with respect to the development and delivery of level 3 projects.
NBEI-EDT North monitoring and impact procedures gathered longitudinal data across all supported projects to provide real time monitoring of programme performance against a set of pre-determined OBA measures. This OBA data has also been used to complete impact summaries of how the programme helped these indivudal social enterprise projects as well as the outcomes that were achieved throughout delivery.
NBEI-EDT North working papers draw on impact and learning from programme delivery to share potential lessons for policy makers and other social enterprises working across the sector. It will also reflect on and share the best practice learning from the 2 study trips that were faciliated during the North Belfast Ethical Investment programme.
NBEI-EDT North research studentships provided 5 MSc students based at Queen’s University Belfast with an opportunity to complete their MSc thesis/work based study on various ‘live’ projects that received investment and technical support from the North Belfast Ethical Investment Programme.