Today, we know that the scale of our global problems far exceed the resources currently allocated to solve them. A new breed of investor is now emerging—one that is not only interested in financial returns but also in generating social and environmental value. By mobilizing private capital, impact investing promises to unlock new capital sources to do good.
On November 12 and 13, the 2015 Social Finance Forum (SFF) will take over MaRS to explore Canada’s new role on the global stage: helping to create a kinder, gentler approach to investing.
The forum kicks off with a keynote on entrepreneurial leadership from Dr. Ray Muzyka, founder and CEO of ThresholdImpact. A former emergency room doctor, he also founded global video game developer BioWare. Now he’s an angel and impact investor focusing on mentoring and investing in IT, new media, medical innovations and social enterprise.
Canada is already carving out a unique role for itself in the impact investing sector. We at MaRS have pioneered a social venture platform with the TSX, created the INFRONT mentorship program in partnership with Mennonite Economic Development Associates and Sarona Asset Management to assist investors and fund managers in developing nations, and are supporting a network of impact investing funds and tools.
While social entrepreneurs focus on unique outcomes and impact metrics, they still need to meet many of the same requirements as traditional for-profit ventures in order to thrive and survive. For social ventures to succeed, Dr. Muzyka believes this mindset needs to be emphasized in entrepreneurial leadership.
“Emulating best business practices in entrepreneurial leadership is thus very useful for social entrepreneurs, and very relevant for impact investors seeking to invest in companies that will change the world,” said Dr. Muzyka.
Social impact ventures are companies that are driving positive social and environmental impact while generating the potential for financial return. At SFF, impact ventures and funds working in a range of sectors including cleantech, food, health, education and affordable housing will take the stage for a chance to win $50,000.
Here are eight you should know:
Want to learn more about impact investing? Registration is open for the 2015 Social Finance Forum.