There’s really no such thing as a slow month on the impact investing front, but we’ve noticed that in autumn the action really picks up. Maybe the increasing chill in the air makes a nice warm office seem more appealing, but we could barely keep up with all of the great writing we came across in November, a selection of which you’ll find below.
The Community Forward Fund announced this month that it is among the first dozen issuers on the Social Venture Connexion (SVX), a new impact investment platform that could potentially revolutionize Canadian social enterprise. Read our release here, and check out all of the other press attention it has attracted:
“SVX, led by the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing in Toronto, describes itself as a private investment platform built to connect impact ventures, funds and investors in order to catalyse new debt and equity investment capital. The aim of the platform is to enable impact ventures and funds based in the state of Ontario to raise investments of $100,000–$10m (£60,000 – £6m) from accredited impact investors.” (The Guardian)
“It’s no mistake that the SVX platform is launching in Ontario, where about 10,000 social enterprises are already operating, and the Ontario government is playing an active role in helping them attract capital. The Ontario government is already playing a leadership role in this area, with the goal of helping our social entrepreneurs grow and thrive by establishing the province as North America’s number-one destination for social investment.” (Triple Pundit)
We checked back in with one of our loan successes, the Four Feathers Housing Cooperative. The update is excellent. The new units are complete and residents began moving in as of August. Stevenson expects all 33 units to be occupied by November, meaning that number of units in subsidized townhouses have been opened up for new Aboriginal families. Read more here!
Have you read the Ontario government’s social enterprise strategy? No time like the present! (Ontario.ca)
Speaking of the government of Ontario, here’s their new “state of the sector” report on nonprofits and charities. Did you know a quarter of nonprofit and charity revenue comes from payments for products, services and events? (Citizenship.gov.on.ca)
The next round of applications for Ontario Catapult Loans for Social Enterprises opens November 19. Low interest loans of $5000 – 25 000 are available for small social enterprises; check out this link for criteria and application information.(http://socialinnovation.ca/catapult)
Speaking of SocialFinance.ca, they have a fascinating interview with Pamela Hartigan, Director of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship: “My thinking is evolving. I’m not quite sure whether the term social entrepreneurship has outlived its usefulness and is not now creating an unhelpful dichotomy. I’m also getting sick of the term innovation. I think there are very few truly innovative things in the world. I think that it’s about making things work better, work smarter. Things that will drive the kinds of change that we know we need. We’re slapping innovation onto everything.” (SocialFinance.ca)
Ashoka’s new report on impact investing is full of interesting research, and a few sage words of caution: “The emergence of social finance has been characterized by real growing pains as this sector has witnessed almost as many missteps as achievements. There are many cautionary tales. For instance, there are social entrepreneurs that have become small business owners, social businesses that have abandoned their mission to pursue profit, and financial services organizations that have left their clients poorer and more indebted than when they began.” (Ashoka)
And finally, the World Economic Forum has issued its report on impact investing. Of particular interest are their recommendations for various actors moving forward, including governments, investors and funds: “…while investors become more familiar with impact investing and the sector grows, impact enterprises will need to build capabilities and be open to innovative financing mechanisms. For example, revenue-sharing agreements – or royalties paid on income earned – offer an innovative means for impact enterprises to receive financing. They do not require a liquidity event, such as an initial public offering or an acquisition by a private equity firm, in order for the investor to generate cash flow, and thus are more attractive than equity capital. They are also more attractive than debt capital as these agreements do not have the fixed costs associated with traditional loans.” (WEForum.com)
As you can see from this small sampling of news and reports, there’s never been more information about social finance and impact investing available than there is today. While we remain in the early stages of this movement, this research will form the basis of future growth. We’d likely miss a lot of these stories if it weren’t for our twitter followers sharing them with us, so thanks to all of you who have and keep it up!