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30 Jan 2019

Philip Newborough: every business needs to think about social impact
BY Tom Walker

Newborough's Bridges Fund Management has a significant stake in the The Gym Group and also owns Spanish chain Viva

Newborough's Bridges Fund Management has a significant stake in the The Gym Group and also owns Spanish chain Viva

Philip Newborough, co-founder of investment company Bridges Fund Management, has claimed that capitalism "risks losing its mandate" – and that every business needs to start thinking about social impact.

In an interview with HCM, Newborough said the capitalist model creates wealth in the short term, but if it doesn’t address the broader issue of serving society, it risks losing its licence to operate.

A multi-national investor, Bridges Fund Management has a number of fitness properties.

The group has a significant stake in The Gym Group and it owns Spanish low-cost operator Viva and Portuguese market leader Fitness Hut. It also owns Planet Fitness, one of the largest fitness franchises in the US.

"If inequality grows, that might force more difficult change," Newborough said.

He added that among of the models which allow businesses to focus on the issue are Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) – which Bridges Fund Management has become a big player in.

Designed to help social sector organisations deliver outcomes-based contracts for government, SIBs are based around an intervention from organisations that addresses an important social issue.

"A government department agrees to commission the programme on a ‘payment by results’ basis; we provide the project finance, plus any management support the provider needs to deliver the contract successfully," Newborough explained.

"As the government makes payments based on the outcomes achieved, we’re paid only when the programme has achieved the desired results.

"It works well because it allows smaller, more innovative Third Sector organisations to take on these government contracts. That’s something they normally find quite hard to do because they don’t have the balance sheet to bid for many of these contracts, even if they wanted to."

To read the full interview with Phil Newborough, click here for the January issue of HCM.



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