What’s Next in Social Enterprise? We Want to Know Your Ideas

Hope Consulting recently identified a whopping $120 billion opportunity for impact investment “hiding in plain sight,” that is, in people’s bank account. Impact investment (made by investors that are not only seeking financial return, but positive environmental and social impact) is a field we are just starting to identify and quantify.  As we begin to dig deeper, we uncover untapped potential for social entrepreneurs (those of us running or looking to run projects with a positive impact on the world).

This Money for Good initiative identified an appetite for investing in socially and environmentally driven projects that is, as of yet, totally untapped.  90% of Americans with incomes over $80,000 surveyed expressed an openness to impact investing.  Money for Good estimates that there is $120 billion in capital sitting in bank accounts that retail (that is non-accredited) investors would like to invest in good projects.  And wouldn’t those good projects like to access this funding?

This is a huge opportunity and clearly we have our work cut out for us to realize it. Hope Consulting hypothesizes that one great way to open this market up is for financial advisors to present their clients with information about impact investment opportunities. We need to make impact investment opportunities available to retail investors.

This is clearly one important piece of the puzzle, but enough hypothesizing from the experts – we want to hear YOUR great ideas. What is the next big thing in social enterprise?  Specifically, what is the thing that will open up that $120 billion and push the space forward?

To drive thinking on this front, TriplePundit has joined forces with SOCAP and Myoo Create to launch the SOCAP 10 Impact Challenge.  Launching today, the SOCAP 10 Impact Challenge invites you to contribute your ideas for the next big thing in social enterprise – in the form of a 500 word post.  The top 5 ideas will be published on TriplePundit.  And the top selected writer will receive a free pass to SOCAP ’10, valued at $1195.  (More details here.)

The SOCAP 10 Impact Challenge brings together 3 of my favorite organizations to trigger a conversation about solutions:

  • The Social Capital Markets conference (SOCAP) is an annual conference gathering investors, innovators, entrepreneurs and leading thinkers in the social impact space.  In its third year, SOCAP aims to define “What’s next” in business for good.  I’ve been lucky enough to attend the past two SOCAP conferences and find it to be one of the very best conferences in this arena.  SOCAP has launched this challenge to start a conversation about solutions in advance of their conference.
  • Myoo Create (a client of mine) is a crowdsourcing community that brings together a diverse set of thinkers (Myoo stands for me + you) to solve sustainability challenges facing organizations.  It is the first of its kind to focus its prize-driven challenges exclusively on social and environmental issues.   All challenge entries will be available on their website for commenting, voting, review, and open collaboration.
  • TriplePundit, as you know from reading this, is a media company focused on driving the conversation about sustainable business.  As a media sponsor for SOCAP, TriplePundit is excited to publish the top ideas from the challenge.

How will you unleash American’s hidden appetite for doing good with their dollars? Check out the challenge and tell us all.

Amie runs Cobblestone Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focusing on business development, marketing, communications and strategy for mission driven companies. Previously, Amie served as Director of Business Development for Viv (a Bay Area environmental start-up), Program Manager for Social Venture Technology Group (a boutique consulting firm focused on measuring social and environmental impact), and Associate Consultant at Bain & Co (a global management consulting firm). She is particularly interested in innovations that reduce waste, altering consumer behavior for good, and leveraging the power of business to solve the climate crisis. You can read more from her on her blog, on GreenBiz.com, and on JustMeans.

7 responses

  1. OK. last week the international childcare organisation Everychild led a delegation of charities to the UK Commons where they presented a report calling on governments to place child rights into development policy. Their report warns that without investing in children's rights to the protection of a family home, MDGs for 2015 will not be met.

    A social enterprise approach has been proposed, to address this critical issue and is based on a profit for purpose approach with both financial and social return on investment.

    The concept had been proven bettween 2000-4 in an initiative which leveraged microfinance in Russia.

    This 'Marshall Plan' like the original is aimed at hunger poverty desperation and chaos and with today's statement from Hillary Clinton about human security in Pakistan, we know that the approach is congruent with US government policy.


    The P-CED model derives from a 1996 paper on social capitalism for the former US President.


  2. At the core of what I describe above is a social economic paradigm, a model for financial and social return, which is reflected in today's variants – B-Corporations, L3Cs, Social Business Enterprises and Community Interest Companies.

    In the microeconomic 'Marshall Plan' above there will be found a description of a social enterprise center and social innovation fund – something partially adopted already by the United States. It differs however in being both overseen by civic leaders and available as a vehicle for private social investment.

    The primary focus of this particular plan is childcare, giving all children the protection of a family home. Something that major charities now call on governments to act on in their international development policies. They are saying that MGDs for 2015 will not be reached otherwise.


    The world calls out for economics based on ethics and compassion as can be reas in the encyclical Caritas In Veritate:

    “Striving to meet the deepest moral needs of the person also has important and beneficial repercussions at the level of economics. The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly — not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred.”

    In the microeconomic 'Marshall Plan' the cost of lifting millions out of poverty over 5 years social investment is weighed against the cost of what was then being spent in Iraq every week. That case is made again in President Obama's soft power initiative to spend $7.5 billion over 5 years in Pakistan on people and development-centered projects.

    We must transcend the foundation approach and the individual social entrepreneur which requires social innovators to compete for small funding grants and instead find viable application of the social business models mentioned above, and fund them as would be expected by traditional business seeking seed capital.

    By these means we can seed these social business to create wealth flows in communities where the vicious cycle of poverty begets multiple social ills – on a global basis.

  3. Thanks Myoo,

    We have a proof of concept for this approach in sourcing the Tomsk regional initiative which was able to leverage $6 million investment for microfinance. The outcome over 5 years being around 10,000 micro business entities with 12 month survival rates of around 99%.

    In this interview founder Terry Hallman describes how the P-CED approach could benefit the Tatar Community of Crimea and relates the success of the Tomsk initiative.


  4. Pingback: The Future of Social Enterprise: Introduction | Pursue Blue

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