Investing in Career Development

United Kingdom

The Impact Investor

Bridges Fund Management is a private fund manager dedicated to creating superior returns for both investors and society as a whole. Bridges Ventures was founded in 2002, aiming to "do well by doing good” by investing in solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges. Bridges has over 450M GBP in assets under management, focusing on investments that create impact in any one of four key outcome areas: Environment, Health & Well-being, Education & Skills and Underserved Areas.


The Investment

The Babington Group is a profit-with-purpose company that provides high-quality apprenticeship and skills training services. Founded in 1974, Babington is a pioneer of apprenticeships in the UK, offering training in accountancy, financial services, sales, marketing, health and social care. Babington has proved an effective solution for employment challenges in the UK, where as many as one in four available jobs go unfilled because of skill shortages, and teenagers are likely to have low levels of literacy and numeracy, as compared with the other 23 OECD countries.


Investment Details

With the aim of tackling the UK skills gap and reducing the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), Bridges invested in Babington Group in 2009 through its Sustainable Growth Fund (II).


Over the span of seven years, Babington´s revenues increased from under 2M GBP to more than 15M GBP. The business has worked with 2,400 employers to support more than 32,000 learners, two-thirds of which came from underserved communities. In April 2016, Babington was sold to RJD Partners for 22M GBP, delivering an IRR of 33%.


Impact and Measurement

Through its Sustainable Growth Funds, Bridges provides growth capital to support business that have positive impact at the heart of their business model. Babington fits the mold, rejecting the old notion that business success means simply maximizing profits for shareholders. It is a prime example of how the private sector can become part of the solution to pressing societal challenges.


As Bridges reports in their latest Impact Report, measures of Babington´s social impact include: 1,600 NEET youth trained, employment of more than 3,700 formerly unemployed people, and 92% of employers reporting high satisfaction with new talent.



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