Grand Bequest is Scotland’s first property technology B-Corp that drives positive social and environmental impact by helping get empty buildings back into use. Our start-up aims to make demolitions the rare exception around the world and instead works to empower local communities and councils to package building reuse projects into viable impact investment opportunities.
Today, there are over 800,000 empty buildings in the UK, with over 70% being empty homes, and an estimated 12 million empty buildings in the EU. However, these numbers are likely to be low given the data is not collected or is spread across various public and private entities currently content in continuing to operate in a wasteful linear construction approach – build new, demolish, build new, demolish – which shockingly results in a building being demolished every 10 minutes!
Some of these empty buildings being neglected and eventually demolished are listed, or protected, due to their national and/or international significance. The current heritage and conservation model of heritage trusts and grant funding is declining and failing to meet the challenge of preserving these buildings and getting them into a productive state. Homelessness is another unacceptable problem around the world, with someone becoming homeless every 19 minutes in Scotland; and sadly, over 11,800 are children.
The empty buildings in our local communities around the world have the potential to be sustainability adapted into something new; they are a wealth of material that cries out to be reused instead of being wasted and destroyed. We have beautiful empty buildings, we have people that need homes, and yet instead of connecting the two, year after year, we fill our landfills and irreversibly damage our shared heritage forever. In Scotland, over 50% of the national waste is directly related to construction and demolition waste. It is time for a radical systemic change.
Investing for positive ESG impact is at an unprecedented high with over £2 billion a day currently flooding in. Impact investors and public bodies have an exponential amount of funding to deploy to address our social and environmental challenges by 2050, with an amazing £53 trillion needing deployment in just next 10 years, and they consistently say there are not enough bankable projects and no trustworthy pipeline into the communities and projects they need to drive real, tangible, quantifiable impact.
The Grand Bequest platform creates the missing technological infrastructure needed to create this vital pipeline for investment to flow directly into community-led building regeneration projects that will create impact at scale. We pioneered this unique impact pipeline by removing the barriers between the communities, councils, sector SMEs, and building owners in desperate need for project funding, coordination support, and ultimately match them with key impact investors looking to create significant place-based impact.
Grand Bequest’s award-winning team of 11 has recently secured significant InnovateUK funding to develop the platform MVP for deployment in Spring 2023 and continues to support multiple Beta projects across key council regions in Scotland. We also just received the Environmental Impact 2022 award from UKPropTech Association as well as the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion award!
Grand Bequest operates from a B2B2C model by connecting partner businesses and sponsors with the communities they need to reach to generate place-based impact with their investments. Grand Bequest makes money by charging a transaction fee on invoices by partners and cash provided by sponsors. We also create monthly recurring revenue by charging champions and sponsors monthly membership SaaS fees.
By having a strategic long-term vision of an area through our geospatial database and proprietary data analytics, we will provide a specific project team the ability for the first time to communicate the impact, the economics, and the project specifics not just for their own project purposes but also in conjunction with other projects to create a bundled approach to procurement, financing, risk avoidance, and decision-making through our AI-generated recommendations and connections. A perfect example of business for good!