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Impact investing is about taking care of the village – that is, ensuring that we, our families, neighbours, community, the planet, and future generations have access to the essential resources we all need to survive, thrive, and be happy.

By investing in companies that give people improved access to essential resources for managing change and making decisions (such as education) or essential resources for a means of exchange (such as employment), we can have positive impact and help take care of the village.

Examples of impact investing and employment

Each opportunity must be evaluated on the basis of its own merits and potential impact, but broadly speaking a venture with accessible employment baked into its business model and/or an inclusive hiring policy embedded within its business culture is a potential impact investment opportunity.

Example of #impact = inclusive hiring baked into the business model (click to tweet)

Social Capital Partners’ investment strategy was specifically designed around employment. Their aim is “to explore new solutions that can drive even greater, more scalable access to employment for those at a disadvantage.”[1] Their strategies ranged from tying their impact loan rates directly to employment outcomes to bridging between employers and training programs, involving employers in the design, delivery, and evaluation of training and development programs.

Another great organization is Sole Food Street Farms. Sole Food grows and sells artisan-quality fruits and vegetables and their impact is two-fold. They not only improved the use of vacant and contaminated urban land by transforming them into street farms, Sole Food also provides jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion. In doing so, they have “empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources who are managing addiction and chronic mental health problems.”[2] Although wholly, owned by a charitable organization, Sole Food did secure impact-focused finance to expand their operations.

A example of new economic activity as many low-barrier jobs are automated and eliminated, one of Pique Fund’s portfolio companies MuseFind, in the influencer marketing space, helps generate income opportunities for its supply chain. The influencer community is no longer just about social media personalities. Micro-entrepreneurs and people who need flexible work opportunities, especially women, people on low-incomes and from marginalized communities, are able to build and support their livelihoods based on creativity and visual story-telling.

Examples of impact investing and education

An impact investment opportunity could be focused on a number of areas such as the direct provision of education and training or the learning environment or bigger systems level shifts.

Example of #impact = access to education or systems level shifts (click to tweet)

In the example above, Social Capital Partners started to shift its focus towards training and development and the pathway towards employment.

A friend of mine founded Fluency in the UK, to provide “an alternative education system for learners focused on vocational skills and just-in-time learning.”[3] Fluency helped people with barriers to employment to gain skills whilst working on real projects for real companies.

Another example is Prollster, a social learning platform. With the advent of massive open online courses, Prollster aimed to improve engagement and social interaction in a world of remote and digital learning, foster teamwork and collaboration, and improve the quality of education in a cost-effective way.

There are many possibilities to have a positive impact, investing in ventures focused on education or employment. The impact could be directly experienced by their customers through the value proposition or it could be somewhere else in the business model. Each circumstance needs to be evaluated individually to determine whether they align with your investment strategy and goals.

[1] About Us – Social Capital Partners
[2] Sole Food – Our Story
[3] Fluency, free online training courses


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For more impact investing resources and tools, check out Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.

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