We’ve been on a two year journey to understand — and perhaps influence — the evolving ecosystem of CSR, social impact, social good, impact investment, social capital and startups.
From these two years of exploring, we are more convinced than ever that all companies — including early stage startups to those further along — need to be paying close attention to this fast evolving ecosystem. You may decide to postpone or exclude it from your planning but you should be aware of what’s happening.
So far, we’ve learned (among other things) that:
- For startups, making social impact a core of your business can open new financial streams, attract and retain talent, expand and improve markets and models, mitigate risk and position your company as a future market leader.
- For investors, early financial participation in startups can bring both the excitement of ‘being there at the beginning’ and the satisfaction of being part of a world-improving movement — with the strong possibility of market level returns. Impact investment is going mainstream. Institutions, from the UN to the Vatican, see the potential for impact investing to improve the way we tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. Measuring social impact will be the key to insuring investments meet expectations and continue to grow.
- Corporate venture capital investments in social impact startups have the potential to help companies mitigate risks and capture opportunities embedded in social and environmental challenges. These investments can also positively impact the company’s brand.
- The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the UN in 2015 define global priorities for 2030. They represent an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate extreme poverty and put the world on a sustainable path, but they cannot be achieved without business participation. The UN is providing the measuring framework and goal targets; how will you contribute?
We are part of a growing network of impact investors and startup founders, social impact experts, venture philanthropists, social enterprise and social responsibility strategists who are exploring this emerging space.
Join us @StartingUpGood. We look forward to exploring with you.