Social entrepreneurs have to do it all: innovate, develop solid business models, pitch them well, and measure impact. This week’s articles on impact investing cover all of these topics, as well as exciting ID partner and BSP Fund portfolio news.
“Defining Impact Investing: A Call to Action” by Beth Sirull and Ben Thornley on Stanford Social Innovation Review
Many people continue to seek a clear definition for the term “impact investing.” Sirull and Thornley of Pacific Community Ventures propose a definition that captures a “market-driven solution, grounded in the fundamental need for transparency.” They advocate for clear expectations for financial returns, a standardized impact plan using IRIS, and an annual Impact Statement disclosing non-financial performance. Many funds and enterprises in the impact space already provide the information mentioned to some degree, though admittedly it is often not standardized. Do you think impact investment reporting should be more standardized, as Sirull and Thornley suggest?
“Delivering a Winning Pitch – a MEST Guide” by Kevin Schuster
With all the talk about impact metrics, it’s important not to forget about the rest of the business plan pitch. Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Ghana’s leading tech entrepreneurship incubator, is home to successful startups like Saya, which presented at TechCrunch Disrupt, and mPawa, which presented at DEMO Africa. Kevin Schuster, a MEST Business Fellow who helped Saya and mPawa prepare, offers his tips for pitching to investors. His comprehensive tips apply to mission-driven and traditional startups alike.
“Who’s the Best at Innovating Innovation?” by Polly LaBare on Harvard Business Review Blog Network
In October, HBR partnered with McKinsey to launch the M-Prize for Management Innovation. Many in the impact investment space are focused on funding innovative solutions to poverty. However, such investors, accelerators, and so on, must take innovative approaches to finding, supporting, catalyzing, and funding those solutions. The M-Prize honored our partner Village Capital for its democratic peer selection model as one of the ten winners of the Innovating Innovation Challenge. Well deserved.
Invested Development Portfolio | SolarNow
Last but not least, we announced our first investment of 2013 this week. The link above directs you to SolarNow’s new page on the portfolio section of our website. There, you can check out the basic facts about SolarNow and why we decided to make this investment. This is the sixth alternative energy investment in the BSP Fund portfolio and our first one in Uganda. Visit SolarNow’s website here.