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Fair by Design fund aims to reduce the U.K.’s “poverty premium”

More than 20% of the U.K.’s population lives at or below the poverty line.

Low-income people often pay more for basic goods and services than wealthier households, because they rely on higher-cost pay-as-you-go utilities and financial products.

The new Fair By Design Fund, backed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust, Ascension Ventures, and Finance Birmingham is looking to invest £20 million ($26.3 million) in companies that are reducing this “poverty premium” with new energy and financial services.

The fund, which has raised £9 million so far, has selected five ventures for seed or Series A investments, including JobSkila, a search tool that connects the unemployed to free skills training programs, and Bean, a spending tracking and money management service.

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