Diary of a Social Venture investment (1)

After almost 2 years working pro bono with a non-profit, I am more than ready to be paid for my effort. But not at any cost.

Two weeks ago we were approached by social venture capital investors through recommendations by a sister non-profit (please note the collegiality of this action – that’s called working together).

Well okay, we weren’t actually approached by the investors themselves – but an intermediary who has been sent forth to seek suitable candidates for wealthy investors to sink deep dollars into their own personal method to change the world – through business ventures.

Wait a minute … so, who are these people? Social impact investors?

Market-based models to generate social development and poverty reduction have become somewhat of a rage in the development world, particularly by those individuals who you might call the “uber wealthy”. These are people that have so much wealth that there probably aren’t many worldly possessions left of interest to purchase. These are the wealthy that turn to doing something meaningful with their wealth. I applaud these people, and admire this thinking. Lets face it. They could simply continue to enjoy a life of polish, pleasure, and sophistication with nary a thought to the world’s poor. These people want more than that, and the world needs more people like them.

So how is this going to work? We’re a non-profit that supports small-scale business ventures as only a part of what we do on a global basis. We work with local community centres that have identified their needs in their own community, and need a leg-up in order to make that happen. These are people passionate about their solutions, whether that is better water, sanitation, health, agriculture or cleaner and more available energy sources.

Seems like a match made in heaven: people with deep pockets that want to help, people with fire in the belly for change. We can make this work right?

Well, it’s actually a lot more complicated than it seems …

Read on, next posting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *