Memorable moments in impact investing in 2013

Memorable moments in impact investing in 2013

It is the season for lists and year-end reflections. You’ve probably read Time’s Person of the Year list, the Techvibes 100 and, if you’re lucky, you’ve even read the top 10 best of 2013 lists of 2013 from The Washington Post.

The team at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing wanted to get in the spirit of the season, so we asked a simple question: What was your most memorable moment in impact investing over the past year at MaRS?

Here is what we had to say.

Ted Anderson: My most memorable moments were the demonstrations of government leadership at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary. Ontario’s minister of economic development, trade and employment announced the ministry’s $25 million social enterprise strategy to a packed room of sector leaders, and Jason Kenney, minister of employment and social development, stated “I’m here to state clearly, on behalf of the Government of Canada, our enthusiastic and unqualified support for the entire drive towards social enterprise, social finance and social innovation.”


Adam Jagelewski: My most memorable moment in impact investing was David Cameron’s platform for social investment at the G8 summer meetings in London. His ambitious call to action at an international scale will have catalytic implications, starting with a G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce.



Muska Ulhaq: My most memorable moment in impact investing was British Columbia’s launch of a new hybrid corporate model, Community Contribution Companies. This was a significant development for social enterprises and a major step toward recognition of corporations that combine elements of non-profit enterprises and for-profit businesses.



Adam Spence

Adam Spence: My most memorable moment in impact investing over the past year was the market open at the Toronto Stock Exchange for SVX. We were joined by an incredible group of partners, ventures and friends to launch the initiative, featuring outstanding pitches by our first round of issuers.



Tristina Sinopoli: My most memorable moment in impact investing was seeing its impact through the Metcalf Foundation’s publication on the success of Regent Park’s $1 billion revitalization: “Regent Park: A Story of Collective Impact.” Sharing the impact that comes to fruition from an impact investment is a remarkable thing and we will see so much more in the years to come!



Katie Gibson: My most memorable moment in impact investing was meeting and collaborating with impact investing luminaries at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary. This annual gathering was held in Canada for the first time in October 2013.



Carlos Pinto Lobo: My most memorable moment in impact investing has been the enthusiasm from the regulators for the new business model that the SVX represents. They are signalling that the existing capital raising models are not enough to support the growth of impact investing and that a new way forward is needed. It is a welcome trend when regulators seek to drive innovation in the capital markets.



Joyce Sou: My most memorable moment in impact investing was RBC’s announcement of their first impact investment from their Generator Fund in the MaRS Cleantech Fund (also a B Corp!). It was great to have Tom Rand say the words “impact investing.” That will make this a winner for sure.



Sarah Doyle: At the risk of echoing my colleagues, my most memorable moments in impact investing were, from a micro to a macro scale: the pitch session at the Toronto Stock Exchange SVX launch, which showcased impressive, concrete examples of social enterprises; the strong support for social finance and social entrepreneurship expressed by both the Ontario government and the Government of Canada at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary; and the launch of the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce, which has been a forum for focused collaboration at an international level to better understand and catalyze the development of a global impact investment market.


Ellen Martin: Although my colleagues have already shared many of my favourite moments from the year, I must add the Social Finance Awards. This year’s awards highlighted the evolution of social finance in Canada as we celebrated, for the first time, both innovation and excellence. The awards shed a spotlight on initiatives that are making a significant impact on their communities and allow all of us to celebrate their success!



Trish Nixon: My most memorable moment of 2013 had to be the launch of Impact8! The number of individuals and organizations that pulled together to deliver an accelerator program targeting social ventures was incredible—not to mention, the chance to work with these amazing entrepreneurs!

Leading up to launch, the opportunity to learn from those offering similar support programs both in Canada and globally was inspiring, and it demonstrated the sheer amount of weight that is being thrown behind social entrepreneurs and the impact investing movement.

There have been many memorable moments and this list only captures a few of them. There is a great deal more that has happened beyond MaRS in the impact investing marketplace across Canada, from the launch of the Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund for Social Ventures, Purpose Capital and RADIUS Ventures to the introduction and passage of the Social Value Act in Quebec.

So what’s in store for 2014?

There is much to look forward to in 2014. And if you’re an impact venture or investor, you already have a chance to register for an exciting moment in the future with Impact Ontario happening this spring at MaRS, on March 18.

On behalf of the team at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, thank you for a great year!