Venture philanthropy has long been a forceful movement in the US and Canada, but in Europe, the practice of using VC style investment techniques to help charitable organizations maximize their effectiveness remains in its infancy.

Impetus Trust, the group founded by VC veteran Stephen Dawson and entrepreneur Nat Sloane, is the UK's first ever generalist charitable foundation. Founded in 2002, Impetus has now completed its first investment. In September, the trust revealed a long-term partnership with Speaking Up!, a UK disability charity.

Speaking Up!, founded in 1994, aims to empower disabled people to take control of their lives. Under the agreement with Impetus, the charity will receive £400,000 (€588,000; $721,000) as infrastructure funding over four years. In the first year, Impetus will invest £160,000 as well as providing management support.

Part of the investment is aimed at helping Speaking Up! build up its income generating activities from training and consulting. In return, the charity has agreed to transfer 15 percent per year of any surplus income it earns, starting in the first year a surplus is generated and continuing to a maximum of £90,000 over the four financial years 2005-2009