IAN Marchant, former chief executive of energy giant SSE, has made his first investment in social enterprise, backing a community bakery in Edinburgh.

Mr Marchant is one of five investors to put up a total of about £50,000 of funding for Breadshare, set up by husband and wife Debra Riddell and Geoff Crowe, as the bakery moves to franchise its business model across Scotland.

Breadshare has raised a total of £100,000, with the £50,000 put up by the investors matched by grant funding from Big Lottery Scotland, through a scheme operated by social enterprise start-up agency Firstport.

A spokeswoman for Firstport said that the funding provided by Mr Marchant was loan finance, on which he would be paid a rate of interest. Social Investment Scotland is also among the five parties putting up loan funding for Breadshare, which Firstport noted, “provides organic and nutritious bread and offers a variety of activities to enhance community life in Edinburgh”.

Firstport noted that the investment made by Mr Marchant had secured Social Investment Tax Relief.

Mr Marchant said: “I was looking for my first investment in social enterprise and there were two features about Breadshare that caught my attention. It is based in my home city and it operates in the hospitality industry, a sector that interests me. I asked a trusted colleague with a background in the industry to investigate the opportunity further and…I decided to go ahead with the investment”.

The former SSE chief revealed he had been attracted by the premise of an investment that could deliver returns on what he describes as his “triple bottom line” criteria for making investments. He lists these criteria as “economic”, “impact” and “interest”.

Mr Marchant said: “I have developed my own theory about investment which applies to both time and money. It draws on the triple bottom line theory which is usually applied to companies and governments but can, I believe, be adapted for personal use too. For me, an investment [in] social enterprise hits all those three: a modest economic return for an impact on an organisation and an issue facing society in a market or place that interests me. What's not to like.”

Firstport noted a social enterprise placed social or environmental aims at the core of its ethos. Profits were reinvested back into the business or community to boost the social or environmental aims.

Karen McGregor, chief executive of Firstport, said: “We are delighted that traditional angel investors are more aware and getting involved in social enterprise. It’s a significant development for our sector and we hope more investors like Mr Marchant turn their attention to, and recognise the exciting potential of, social enterprise.”