The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing launched the Impact8 initiative last year because we saw a broad spectrum of potential opportunities for impact. There was the opportunity to grow the pipeline of investible opportunities in impact investing, the opportunity to help social entrepreneurs navigate the ecosystem of support and financing options, the opportunity to accelerate innovative and sustainable solutions to big challenges, the opportunity to focus on the ‘missing middle’ by targeting ventures transitioning from early to growth stage – the potential was as staggering as the length of this sentence.
After a collaborative application process that involved 147 applicants for our first cohort, we chose our first eight ventures and embarked on an amazing journey culminating in Impact8 opening the TSX and a very successful Demo Day.
As we worked, learned and grew together, our first cohort was nothing short of fantastic. While SunFarmer took the top prize of $15,000 in the end, all of the ventures ironed out the wrinkles in their business plans and drastically improved their (peer-rated) evaluation scores by the end of the program.
They have also made the most of their access to the Centre for Impact Investing. Three of them – Detailing Knights, Grantbook and Lucky Iron Fish – are now certified B Corps. A handful are going through the SVX process – stay tuned, there will be more on that soon! And three of them – Grantbook, Lucky Iron Fish and Local Buttons – pitched for investment at ImpactOntario.
Cohort 2: A focus on health and well-being
This time around we’ve moved toward a sector-focused model, adding more value by bringing together entrepreneurs working on related social outcomes.
To that end, the Spring 2014 cohort focuses on innovations that empower individuals to take control of their health and well-being, enabling them to live and age well at home and in the community.
The cohort will be supported by a unique partnership with Saint Elizabeth, a national health innovator and provider. Saint Elizabeth will provide resources, mentorship and potential partnership opportunities to the ventures as they grow their social purpose businesses for wider social impact.
Introducing cohort 2
Without further ado, meet this year’s cohort:
We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with these innovative ventures to unlock their impact and growth potential. Stay tuned for more!