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Where do you go to raise impact capital?

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Global News | By | March 18, 2014

Impact investing - Where do you go to raise impact capital?Great business plan? Check. Solid product or service offering?  Check. Committed team. Check. Money? No cheque – yet.

One of the biggest challenges for any start-up or growing enterprise is raising capital.  New investment is vital to hire new staff, buy or rent facilities and equipment, and/or support sales and marketing to take you to the next level of profitability and success.

If you are an early stage or growing impact enterprise like a local renewable power co-op, fair trade chocolate shop, or First Nations owned and operated company, the challenge is the same. You may have a great plan, a solid offering, a committed team, and a virtuous mission.  But you need money.  And this capital has to be looking for positive social and/or environmental impact.

So where do you go when you’re looking to raise capital?

Let’s assume an “all of the above” approach to capital, including: grants, loans or debt financing and equity. There are other important questions, like what you will need to do when you get there, and what type of capital you should raise. We’ll leave those issues for another post.  (You can get a head start using the MaRS Entrepreneur’s Toolkit if you’re in a hurry.)


Top on my list of recommendations are events that allow impact enterprises to connect with capital. Today, for example, Toronto will be host to Impact Ontario, a landmark conference at MaRS Discovery District that brings world-changing Ontario ventures together with world-leading investors and intermediaries.

View:  Canadian Crowdfunding Directory

Designed to support deal flow and impact investing opportunities through pitch sessions, one-to-one meetings and plenary panels, Impact Ontario aims to increase capital directed to profitable ventures with a scalable, sustainable impact. Over 25 impact enterprises will be pitching for capital at the event, from Homestead Organics to JUMP Math.


A search for impact capital will most likely include individuals:

  • Many impact entrepreneurs reach out to friends and family for start-up cash.
  • Canada has a growing venture capital community with angels and angel networks as a source of potential venture capital.  Angel networks like the Golden Triangle Angel Network (GTAN) and Maple Leaf Angels have shown a clear interest in impact enterprises through investments in companies such as Greengage and Chipcare.
  • Impact enterprises can reach out to their neighbours through a variety of means including community bonds for non-profit organizations and shares and other security offerings for co-operatives.
  • The most common source of capital for any enterprise is from the founder’s capital, through personal savings, a line of credit, or even a credit card for working capital.

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share save 171 16 - Where do you go to raise impact capital?

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