Social Finance Round Up: ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge Takes Centre Stage produces a weekly round up featuring social finance related news, insights, job openings, and events. We source the content for these round ups from Twitter, an RSS reader, and directly from our community of social finance practitioners. Below is our round up for the week of February 13, 2012.

Last Week on

Timothy Nash published Occupy Your Assets on February 6, 2012.

Bree Gardner published Social Finance Round Up: Environmental Finance and Green Investing Pick Up Steam on February 7, 2012.

Nabeel Ahmed published The ClimateSpark Venture Challenge: Social Ventures for Climate Change on February 8, 2012.

Allison Langille published Introducing’s New Assistant Editors (Winter 2012) on February 9, 2012.

Nabeel Ahmed published Video: The ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge on February 11, 2012

Canadian and International News

Israel Electric Corporation has issued a $500 million bond for institutional investors in the US to buy solar energy capacity to replace gas from Egypt.

Private equity firm Actis has introduced a tool to assess the environmental and social impacts of its investments in the energy sector. The Energy Impact Model systematically captures the key drivers that build value and helps to identify where action is required.

Essex County Council has confirmed plans to use social impact bonds to finance family and community-based work with young people on the edge of care or custody in the UK.

New Philanthropy Capital is launching a survey of the UK’s largest charities that will attempt to build a picture of how the organizations are coping with new, more complex and competitive commissioning arrangements, such as payment-by-results.

Euromoney reports that private banks are looking to help clients move away from a greed-is-good mentality. In the article, they argue that if impact investing takes off, it will be driven not by political interference but rather by the interference and assistance of the wealthiest individuals and their banks.

The Department of Energy and Climate has given £20m in funding to Salix Finance, an independent not-for-profit organization, as part of its interest-free loans scheme (SEELS). Any organization across the public sector can now apply for loans to fund energy efficient schemes that pay for themselves within five years through lower energy bills.

Climate Bonds Initiative blogs that while the solar market’s woes are unhelpful to the broader renewable energy market, many of the issues are specific to the industry and therefore should not inhibit the borrowing ability of corporations operating in other renewable energy activities.

Social Enterprise reports that social entrepreneurs around Europe will have the chance to scoop €10,000 and put their names on tubs of ice cream in a groundbreaking contest launched earlier this month by Ben & Jerry’s and Ashoka. “At a time when more questions are being asked about the attitudes of traditional businesses to social justice, the environment and communities, this is an udderly fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs with a passion for sustainability and changing the way business is done in Europe,” the ice cream pioneers said today.

Acumen Fund has issued a $1 million USD loan to microfinance institution GUARDIAN (Gramalaya Urban And Rural Development Initiatives And Network) to finance water and sanitation needs in India. The loan will play a critical role in helping GUARDIAN build its portfolio and transition from a partially grant-funded NGO to a fully self-sustaining microfinance institution.

Based on the results of a survey of Triple Jump’s clients, Triple Jump news reports that microfinance institutions are looking to upscale their services for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and, in doing so, to close the much-debated credit gap.

Unitus Seed Fund announces that it has made an investment in Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) based in Bangalore. HLC is building affordable rural learning centres that serve children at the base of the economic pyramid.

Leonardo Letelier, founder and CEO of sitawi, talks about setting up the first social enterprise fund in Brazil.

StartSomeGood co-founder Tom Dawkins talks about crowdfunding for social enterprises in an interview by Rachel Signer.

Social Finance Learning and Best Practices

The Rockefeller Foundation and SocialFinanceUS released a paper on how social impact bonds can mobilize private capital to advance social good. The new publication offers a framework for both the promise and challenges of social impact bonds as state and local governments within the US begin to explore this new innovation.

Nexii’s Kelly Notcutt takes some valuable time out to discuss developments around social and environmental impact reporting with Jeremy Nicholls, Advisory Board member and CEO of the SROI Network.

Chris Prottas, MPA Candidate at NYU, provides a case study on assessing the cost-effectiveness of impact investing.

Grassroots Business Fund (GBF) shares its Impact Planning, Assessment and Learning (iPAL) framework [PDF], which enables GBF and its portfolio companies to track and analyze finance, operational, and social metrics against established goals in order to improve management decisions.

Harvard Business School Associate Professor Julie Battilana shares the results of analyzing six years’ worth of Echoing Green fellowship applicants – helping impact investors to better understand evolving opportunities in the social enterprise space.

Robert Ashton outlines the benefits of investing in community development finance institutions, including the relatively safe nature of the investments and the accompanying tax breaks.

Ndubuisi Ekekwe, founder of the not-for-profit African Institution of Technology, discusses the emerging opportunities for impact investing in Africa this decade via the Harvard Business Review.

Using the example of India, Manju Mary George, co-founder of Intellecap and part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, discusses how big business investment in the bottom of the pyramid through partnerships with social enterprises can generate inclusive growth.

Ian Cain, a first-year MBA student at Duke University, reflects on a recent visit from Ron D. Cordes, co-chairman of Genworth Financial Wealth Management and founder of ImpactAssets, a non-profit financial services company that aims to aggregate and deploy capital in sustainable social enterprises.

Five Talents Blog interviews Lillian Mwikali about her experiences as a microfinance loan officer in Thika, Kenya.

In this Forbes’ video, Arabella Advisors’ Eric Kessler, who works with billionaires on how to change the world through philanthropy, shares the top five trends for wealthy donors in 2012, including a desire for some of the planet’s richest people to become more engaged in impact investing.

Mark Hand of the First Light India Accelerator, a seed-fund pilot and joint effort of Shell Foundation and First Light Ventures, describes how the market for seed-funding for social enterprises is heating up fast – especially in India – and what this means.

Micro-lending to the more unlikely: the Economist explores microfinance for non-traditional populations.

Recent Discoveries

GoodGuide – provides the world’s largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of consumer products.

Upcoming Events

Latin American Impact Investment Forum: Business for Development
February 13-15, 2012, Merida, Yucatan

Environmental Bonds 2012
February 15, 2012, Eversheds’ Office, London, United Kingdom

World Bank Institute Climate Finance Workshop for the Eastern Caribbean
February 14-17, 2012, Saint Lucia

SROI Network International Conference
February 16th-17, University of Potsdam, Campus Griebnitzsee, Germany

Webinar: Growing The Outcomes Finance Market: Challenges & Routes Forward
February 16, 2012, Online.

Scaling up REDD+ Webinar Series
Webinar series to be held on four consecutive Thursdays starting February 23, 2012

Microfinance Experts Speaker Series: Ann Miles
Thursday, February 16, 2012, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

Social Economy Centre Speakers’ Series: Rise Asset Development
February 22, 2012, Room 3-104, OISE (University of Toronto), 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto

World Water-Tech Investment Summit 2012
February 28-29, 2012, London, United Kingdom

March 3, 2012, Hub SOMA, San Francisco 

Social Enterprise Dragons (Enterprising Non-Profits)
March 8, 2012, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

100WHF-Stanford PACS Conference: Alpha & Altruism – Channeling the Power of Finance for Social Change
March 23, 2012, Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston, MA

Powering deals with purpose – Partnering for Global Impact 2012
July 9-10, Lugano, Switzerland

Did we miss any news, insights, or events? Use the comment form below to add to this round up.

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