Jessica Jackley Flannery, the face of microfinancing
Jessica Jackley Flannery, of Kiva: The face of social venture financing

The news is full of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in accessing capital.  This is especially true for social entrepreneurs — those trying to combine a strong social purpose with sound business principles, rather than being solely driven by maximizing profit. Traditional investment vehicles struggle with them as they’re just so new — the marketplace isn’t well established and the opportunity isn’t well understood. It means that many promising social ventures have limited access to this kind of money — limiting their ability to achieve their true potential.

MaRS has scanned the global social finance landscape — with input from local and global thought leaders and practitioners — to determine the opportunities and challenges supporting the growth of social ventures in Ontario. The outcome is our latest whitepaper, Social Venture Finance: Enabling solutions to complex social problems.

As a non-profit innovation centre, MaRS connects science, technology and social entrepreneurs with business skills, networks and capital to stimulate innovation and accelerate the creation and growth of successful Canadian enterprises. MaRS also helps entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and policymakers communicate and collaborate in new ways.  MaRS works with social ventures so they can become Ontario success stories: financially self-sufficient organizations that are able to deliver strong and measurable social impact for the communities they serve.

Public and private leaders have begun the process to identify and apply innovative methodologies to address complex social issues.  They’re looking for innovation in addressing climate change, poverty reduction and an aging population with the corresponding pressure on the health care system.

Download the paper now

This whitepaper, generously supported by the Government of Ontario, provides an introduction to social venture financing and will be the first in a series discussing the opportunities and challenges faced by social ventures.  Let us know what you think!

Download the report now: Social Venture Finance: Enabling solutions to complex social problems

Allyson Hewitt

Allyson is the JW McConnell Family Foundation Senior Fellow, Social Innovation at MaRS, where she has been leading the SiG@MaRS program; advising social entrepreneurs; building the social innovation ecosystem; and incubating successful programs such as the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, the MaRS Solutions Lab and Studio Y. See more…