Weekly Review December 28 – January 4: Seed Stage Impact Investments and Acceleration

2013 is already shaping up to be a big year for seed stage impact investment. Read what industry leaders like Ross Baird of Village Capital and Kevin Jones of SOCAP are saying, and what opportunities social entrepreneurs can take advantage of this January.

Investing Early to Impact World-Changing Solutions” by Ross Baird, Village Capital Executive Director, on The Huffington Post
Ross Baird, executive director at our partner organization, Village Capital, discusses the importance of seed stage investments for social entrepreneurs. More frequently, investment is required at the seed stage, the earliest stage of funding. The key to success, says Baird, is going beyond investors just “finding” entrepreneurs. They need to collaborate to build great companies. From providing capital to capacity building services, there’s “tremendous opportunity for philanthropists and investors to get involved” in seed stage investment for social entrepreneurs.

Predictions for 2013: Seed Funding to Grow, Accelerators to Explode, Mission-Focused Crowdfunding Could Dwarf them Both” by Kevin Jones on Social Capital Markets
The legendary Vinod Khosla is showing his support for funding impact at the seed stage by investing in Unitus Seed Fund in a multi-million dollar deal. The folks at SOCAP believe that this indicates that seed funding in our industry is about to take off.  A recent SSIR article, “Closing the Pioneer Gap,” supports that there is a definitive need for capital at this stage. Despite the challenges that entrepreneurs face when trying to raise capital, and those that investors face when structuring funds, conducting due diligence, and making investment decisions, Jones is confident that we’ll see much more action in seed stage impact investments this year.

With the discussion of seed stage impact investing, it seems pertinent to provide our entrepreneurial readers with some guidance on where to find opportunities for early stage funding and acceleration. In addition to our own offering through the BSP Fund, the following three opportunities with accelerators and conferences have January deadlines.   

Echoing Green Fellowship Applications Due Monday
We are proud to be an Echoing Green search partner. We’re working to help unleash next generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. Each year since 1991, the Echoing Green Fellowship selects promising social entrepreneurs with bold ideas and provides them with up to $90,000 in seed funding, strategic support, and a powerful community of 500+ other Fellows and Alumni over a two-year fellowship. The first round online application is open now, through January 7, 2013. Learn more here.

Unique Opportunity for Social Entrepreneurs with Scalable Ideas” by Al Hammond on Next Billion
The Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University is seeking social enterprises in the off-grid clean energy sector and health sector for its next cohort. There are 15 spots which come with a $25,000 scholarship and the first step on the path to scale. The deadline is January 11, 2013.  Apply here.

Nominations Open: Sankalp Social Enterprise Awards 2013
The annual Sankalp Forum in India provides for-profit social enterprises the opportunity to receive special recognition and a number of benefits at and after the summit. Benefits include access to leading impact investors, advisory and mentorship from experts, and global brand visibility. Nominations for the Awards are now open until January 20, 2013. Learn more here.

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