The hunt for new customers and new innovations is drawing corporate multinationals toward entrepreneurs who are driving impact on the ground with banking services, farm technology, mobile clinics and off-grid energy sources for the billions of people around the world that still lack those services as a means of impact investing.
Delivering these products and services aligns with the goals of impact investors. The new corporate partnerships could help scale an array of high-impact firms around the world.
Microsoft, for example, turned to Village Capital when it wanted to support local entrepreneurs working to connect to the internet the world’s remaining unconnected communities. The venture firm tapped its global network and entrepreneurship accelerator program to identify and train 10 firms and establish a network of peers, mentors, and investors to help the companies grow.
Long before BlackRock’s letter to corporate CEOs calling for them to define their purpose, corporations were palling around with impact firms and investors looking for the “impact alpha.” Some corporations are giving conventional corporate venture funds an impact mandate.Others corporations are turning to their peers — and shared interests — for collaborations that support entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurs bring drive and vision about what needs to change in the world. Too often they lack the financial and/or technical and sales expertise to turn vision into reality,” writes James Mawson, editor-in-chief of Global Corporate Venturing.
As an example, the Innovations team at Village Capital grew as requests from new and existing partners piled up. Tashima was recruited from Oxford Business Group to execute the Innovations strategy. With the new program, Village Capital will go outside the geographic mandate of its $17 million venture fund to help connect corporations and other global organizations to entrepreneurs in regions including Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia
Read the full article about impact investing through entrepreneurship by Dennis Price at ImpactAlpha.
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