The impact investing marketplace in Canada is growing rapidly as new investors, funds and intermediaries continue to emerge seeking social impact and financial returns. Yet the pipeline of investible opportunities is limited and social entrepreneurs face challenges navigating the ecosystem of support and financing options.

With a view to boosting the investment pipeline and accelerating innovative, sustainable solutions to social and environmental challenges, the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing is launching a new initiative—impact 8—to fast-track social ventures to a greater stage of investment readiness, help them attract financing and scale their impact.

impact 8 fills a gap in the existing support infrastructure for social ventures by focusing on the “missing middle”: ventures that are transitioning from early stage to growth stage and that require targeted support to maximize their success and access to the type of capital that meets their blended value propositions.

Leveraging the expertise and networks of our partners, including KPMG, RBC, TMX and Miller Thomson, as well as the in-house competencies of MaRS Discovery District, impact 8 will blend components of traditional business accelerators with skills development and expert advice targeted specifically to social ventures.

The eight-week program is intensive yet flexible, consisting of two days of on-site workshops every two weeks, supplemented by individual advisory support from experts and service providers, mentorship, guest speakers, networking events, online programming and peer learning. The program will culminate in an opportunity to pitch to accredited investors, foundations and funds seeking social and financial returns. A community demo day event will showcase the cohort of ventures, and one peer-selected winner will receive a grant prize to help finance their operations.

Be a part of the first impact 8 cohort!

Who should apply: impact 8 targets ventures with a core social mission. Your venture can be for-profit, non-profit or co-operative, as long as it has an explicit, measurable impact and the potential to generate a financial return on investment.

  • Participants must work full time on their venture and should have been in operation for at least one year. 
  • Ventures should have existing customers and revenue, and a business plan that demonstrates understanding of operational, financial and strategic plans. 
  • Ventures should be seeking or planning to seek investment (whether debt or equity) in the realm of at least $100,000 within the next 12 months.

If you’re unsure whether this particular program is the right fit for you, you’re in luck! To reduce redundancies and enable social entrepreneurs to focus on the opportunities that will best further their missions and accelerate their success, we’ve teamed up with three other venture support organizations in Ontario to provide one simple pre-screening application form. Select the opportunities that interest you and we’ll help direct applicants to the most suitable program.

Applications close July 12. Apply now!

For more details, visit the impact 8 website.

Trish Nixon

Trish Nixon is an associate at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, where she focuses on mission investing and early-stage venture support. See more…