Since it was founded in 1991, the publication has been sold by homeless people and those at risk of homelessness, giving them a proportion of the cover price and offering a "hand up, not a hand out" to those living on the margins of society.
Now a new deal will see the Scottish edition of the magazine distributed by Paisley-based social enterprise KibbleWorks, which will set up wholesale deals for voluntary organisations across Scotland.
Churches, charities and community groups will be invited to sell the magazine with the aim of generating funds and reducing their reliance on grants.
However, a leading figure from Scotland's charity sector expressed concerns about whether such sales might be seen as competing with those of existing magazine vendors.
John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said the offer to charities to sell the magazine to generate funds was welcome, but he also sounded a note of caution.
"In principle, this sounds like a good idea which could help the Big Issue reach a wider audience through high street charity shops," he said.
"However, I'm sure charities will want assurances that they wouldn't be encroaching on the livelihoods of individual street vendors."
The deal will also see KibbleWorks providing employment support and training to Big Issue in Scotland vendors to help them find work. The social enterprise - the training wing of Kibble Education and Care Centre - already provides similar services to help young care leavers gain experience of sectors such as construction, waste management and car mechanics.
Finally, KibbleWorks will also take over distribution of 455,000 magazines a year (around 9000 a week) to drop-off centres in cities and towns across Scotland where they can be sold on to Big Issue vendors.
The firm will also provide outreach services to sellers and look to create new opportunities for vendors to widen the magazine's reach across Scotland.
John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, made the announcement last night at a reception for the Social Enterprise Policy and Practice annual conference in Glasgow.
Mr Swinney said: "Both Kibble and the Big Issue already make a significant impact in their own right, but the added value generated by this collaboration will help transform the lives of many more people."
Jim Mullan, general manager of KibbleWorks, said: "The right people in society will win out of this deal. They are the 60 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 to whom we presently give employment training and who can now work on the Big Issue contract. And there are also the magazine vendors themselves who can access that training and gain experience of other types of work to help them into the jobs market."
Lara McCullach, Big Issue marketing and communications director, said it was the first time other groups had been encouraged to sell the magazine, but that it already drew its pool of vendors from more than just homeless adults, including people at risk of homelessness and people facing a range of circumstances which would make them vulnerable.
Meanwhile, servicing any such community group contracts will provide vendors with "paper-round" type delivery jobs which could provide opportunities for them to move on, she said.
The Big Issue in Scotland would retain its Glasgow and Edinburgh distribution teams, Ms McCullach added, and the deal will not involve any redundancies.