Square peg, Round Hole: Innovating Finance For Social Enterprises

Square peg, Round Hole: Innovating Finance For Social Enterprises

The social enterprise community is held up as an innovative ecosystem of investors and entrepreneurs, designing businesses models as diverse as the challenges they address—from poverty in the global south, to recidivism and urban farming in the US.  

How are these businesses being funded? Oddly enough, the vast majority are raising capital using the standard equity (or convertible note) term sheets that are designed to support fast-growing tech start-ups.

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Redefining Community Impact - Andrea Armeni

Redefining Community Impact - Andrea Armeni

Impact investment is often seen as a panacea to the challenges of aid and philanthropy, driving capital to socially positive projects that would otherwise not be financed. As the field matures, however, practitioners are starting to recognize some of its challenges.

The enthusiasm around impact investing means that we have often overlooked where its promise has gone unrealized. Given the tremendous potential of the field, we need to get it right – both to seize a unique and timely opportunity, and to avoid some of the pitfalls that have mired its predecessors, aid and philanthropy.

It is time for a course-correction.

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