It’s great working with the Big Issue. From it’s launch through to present day they have been a revolution. You can’t underestimate the change it caused right across the charity sector. They are one of the original social enterprises. The idea of social enterprises is of course now so common and so in fashion now that it’s hard to imagine a time before. That’s the change they caused. 

They’re revolutionary and entrepreneurial, and they want our ideas to match.

 

It’s an extraordinarily simple idea, make the magazine resellable. With the money from every resale going back to the original seller and creator. The addition of a sticker with a resale code, costing 2 pence, gives each issue of the magazine a much larger value and an ability to do much more good.

Of course, to get any of this to work, we first had to get over the fact that most Big Issue vendors are unbanked. This is a major hurdle to being able to take part in any form of financial services. So suddenly an idea to sell magazines became one about financial inclusion.

For that, we partnered with Monzo. Monzo’s goal is to make money work for everyone. They not only powered the transactions through their Monzo.me platform but also created accounts for all our participating sellers.

Today is the launch with selected Big Issue sellers up and down the country. A short live beta with a handful of vendors saw one magazine being resold 20 times and all the participating vendors embracing their new accounts and better spending habits than most of us.

Pay it Forward is an idea that works perfectly for Big Issue, as they need to maintain the physical transaction for their model to work. But it’s also an idea that doesn’t have to travel far before you can see how it could shake up the models for all kinds of physical content. We’re seeing many digital content creators earning money, some a very good living, through payment platforms like Patreon. Pay it Forward shows us how we can make this a reality in the physical space.

So go and buy a Big Issue from a vendor participating in the trial.

Buy it. Read it. And then sell it. And tell whoever you bought it to sell it again.