Social Finance Round Up: Updates & Opportunities at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing 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 April 16, 2012.

Last Week on

Adam Spence posted Budget 2012: A $500m Opportunity for Impact Investing? on April 11

Lindsay Roxon posted Collaborative Consumption is Taking Us Back to Our Roots on April 12

Adam Jagelewski posted Internship Opportunity at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing on April 13

Canadian and International News is conducting a short survey to understand our audience better through collecting information that is not transferred through traditional analytics. We’d like to find out how we can serve the community of social finance practitioners better and provide the most value for our readers. Special prize: Everyone who completes this survey will be entered into a draw to win a free copy of Antony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson’s book Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference. There are five copies up for grabs, so do fill out the survey!

Joanna Reynolds provided an update on the activities of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing on the MaRS blog.

SROI Canada is currently developing a list of SROI practitioners (accredited and non-accredited) and businesses in Canada. If you would like to be included on the list, please fill out this form with details about your SROI experience, services offered, and accreditation status.

Blue and Green Tomorrow published the 2012 Guide to Sustainable Investment, discussing the past, present and future of sustainable investment. Download the full report [PDF].

Alex Blackburne reports that investment in renewable energy in the UK jumped by 35% in 2011, with solar power seeing the most growth.

The Big Venture Challenge, a programme working with 25 of the most ambitious social entrepreneurs across England, has revealed that seven of the elite cohort have between them secured £1.1m – leveraging the original 420,000 commitment from the Big Lottery Fund to attract 680,000 of investment. This illustrates the importance of public funding in stimulating seed investment in social entrepreneurs.

The Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) recently announced the Argidius-ANDE Finance Challenge (AAFC), a new competition designed to support innovative ways to provide capital to small businesses in emerging markets that require $20,000-$250,000 in early stage capital.

Sustainable Stock Exchanges: A Report on Progress, produced by Responsible Research, has found that a majority of stock exchanges remain committed to promoting greater corporate responsibility on sustainability issues but are restricted in the actions they can take. Download report [PDF].

RSF Social Finance released its Spring Newsletter last week, with a number of fascinating articles, including a discussion on how RSF talks about social finance and an article on building a healthy ecosystem of social finance partners. Download the Newsletter [PDF].

Investor attention to the “triple bottom line” of environmental, social and economic performance is growing and raising support levels for shareholder resolutions on environmental and social issues, according to a report by Ernst & Young. Download report [PDF].

The Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) announced the third leg of the Harvard Business Review/McKinsey M-Prize for Innovation—the Long-Term Capitalism Challenge.

At the Sankalp Summit, the 2012 Sankalp Award Winners were announced, in categories ranging from clean energyo technology for development.

Innovative financing helps Harbourfront save money: the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) has essentially pre-purchased the energy cost savings Harbourfront will realize from improving lighting, building controls, boilers and motors. The result: Harbourfront realizes immediate cost savings without tying up any of its own capital and gets ahead of the curve on equipment maintenance. Find out how your institution or building can realize similar benefits through TAF’s Energy Savings Performance Agreement.

HRH the Prince of Wales hosted a meeting last month with some of his charities to discuss the future of social impact bonds, including measures to expand the model in the homelessness sector.

MIX and the McGraw-Hill Companies celebrate increased microfinance transparency through social performance reporting

Upcoming online conversation: “Investing with Impact: Building Partnerships for a Better Tomorrow.” You can participate by submitting questions or using the hashtag #ImpactGPI.

Social Finance Learning and Best Practices

David Roodman summarizes the latest research on microfinance in a convenient table – with some fascinating findings.

Drew Tulchin and Daniel Jodarski of Social Enterprise Associates offer some extremely helpful tips on how to successfully leverage crowdfunding in NextBillion.

Peter Shergold describes how momentum for social impact bonds is growing in Canada.

Scope is attracting lots of interest for its £20m bond issue – the first bond issued by a UK charity which applies a standard corporate fundraising structure on a social mission basis. Vibeka Mair assesses its progress.

Nithya Ramanathan, founder of Nexleaf Analytics, describes an innovative approach to reduce the cost of data collection and, in turn, social impact measurement. Watch the video on PopTech.

Elmira Bayrasli explains why microfinance and entrepreneurship shouldn’t be conflated: “Microfinance is, above all, a development tool. Entrepreneurship is not. While it can have great social benefits, ultimately it is about business. Entrepreneurs are immersed in the world of commerce, competition and risk. To most recipients of microloans, this world is foreign and even frightening.”

Natalie Elphicke, head of structured housing finance, partner, international law firm Stephenson Harwood gives her take on the application of Islamic finance to ethically-charged social housing and the investment opportunities that arise from it.

The raw truth about impact investing – a social entrepreneur speaks out . “People are very attracted to social entrepreneurship right now. They spend a lot of money flying to conferences all over the world to talk about how great an idea social entrepreneurship is, but, when it comes to check writing time, they start coming up with reasons not to write the check.”

Sustainable investment goes mainstream in Europe, reports Peter Lee. One investment advisor, Osmosis Investment Management, reports improved results by leaning away from cleantech and into resource-efficent conventional companies.

Careful managers, not maverick social entrepreneurs, will build the Big Society Capital pipeline, Tom Rippin argues.

Investing is becoming increasingly attractive to philanthropists – David Bank previews the Global Philanthropy Forum, which started on Monday. Read the post to get infected by Jane Wales’ optimism, if nothing else.

Learning via Dialogue for the Sustainability Practitioner, by David Klar – explaining why the SPRiNG talks are so important.

Have you been watching Unreasonable TV? In Episode 1, Shivani Siroya talked about providing finance to micro-enterprises through Inventure. Episode 2, where she got some challenging feedback from the mentors at the Unreasonable Institute, is also worth watching.

On KivaZip, getting loans has been a challenge – another cry of ‘where is the $$$?

Dr. Alex Nicolls of the Skoll Centre interviewed by Cheryl Kernot of CSI Social Impact on social finance and social impact bonds .


Ideame – Latin America’s crowdfunding platform

Job Opportunities

The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing is seeking a summer intern; apply by Monday, 23 April.

Social Innovation Generation (National) is looking for a Program Manager; deadline is Monday, 23 April 2012.

Urban Alliance is seeking a Director of Evaluation to further develop its evaluation practices.

Alterna Savings is looking for a Community Micro Loan Coordinator.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is looking to hire two Summer Associates for 10 weeks to support its activities.

The Grassroots Business Fund posted a metrics and development impact summer internship opportunity.

The Unreasonable Institute is looking for a Program Manager to design and execute the 6-week Summer Institute for social entrepreneurs.

The Centre for Social Innovation is hiring a Director of Programming to join the CSI management team.

LGT Venture Philanthropy is looking for a Business Accelerator Consultant (PDF) to work with LGT VP’s Impact Ventures Accelerator Program in Indonesia. Find out more about the opportunity and apply by April 30, 2012.

Calvert Social Investment Foundation is seeking a Compliance Officer, among several other roles.

Upcoming Events

Social Venture Network 2012 Annual Member Gathering
April 19 – 22, Stevenson, Washington

Investors’ Circle Spring Venture Fair
April 22-24, San Francisco

3rd Annual Impact Conference
22-25 April, 2012, Miami, Florida

SOCAP: Designing the Future
May 8 – 10, Malmo, Sweden

Environmental Bonds Conference
May 23, New York

Canada’s Socially Responsible Investment Conference
June 18 – 20, Montreal, Quebec

Cracking the Nut 2012 Conference
June 25-26, 2012, Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, Washington, DC

Partnering for Global Impact
July 9-10, Lugano, Switzerland

PRI-CBERN Academic Conference 2012
October 1-3, York University, Toronto, Canada

The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) – Fórum Mundial de Negócios Sociais 2012
October 16-18, 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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