Written by: Hannah M. Lewis - Communications & Research Advisor
Edited by: Kim Kastorff - CEO/Founder
Beyond our moral and social responsibilities - why has investing in women become a smart investment strategy? Microfinance institutions often target women for microloans because they’re a proven lower credit risk and more likely to spend earned income on their family’s health and education. A recent study by EY and the Peterson Institute found companies in which women hold 30 percent or more of corporate leadership positions have the potential to increase their net margin by up to six percentage points. McKinsey Global Institute released a study that claims $12 trillion (yes, trillion with a “t”) could be added to global GDP by 2025, just by advancing women’s equality.
So, what does “gender lens investing” mean?
First, to clear up a common defense - gender lens investing is not a male versus female, zero-sum game. The use of the word gender (rather than women) in the term is intentional; the negative impacts of gender inequality in social and financial systems affect both women and men. We need to provide opportunities for both genders to break the status quo, so that when women are provided equal opportunities in society, everyone will benefit. Both men and women need to work together as entrepreneurs, leaders, and investors to move this field forward and increase gender equality...and to do this we need to also include men in the conversation.
The goal is greater inclusion for both men and women, all of whom can benefit from gender lens investing. By considering gender as a category of analysis in our investment decisions, we can achieve better outcomes for investors and for society as a whole. So, it doesn’t mean narrowing your investment options. On the contrary, it examines how focusing on gender can achieve both a social impact and financial return on your investments. Since power dynamics within systems and institutions tend to negatively affect females, gender lens investing focuses on the positive impacts from investing in women. Advocates claim that through understanding the way gender affects your investments and your investments affect gender, you can make more effective investment choices.
Investing with a gender lens is similar to looking at your investments through an environmental lens. You can positively impact the environment through your daily purchases (e.g. detergents, recyclable materials), or by selecting Certified B Corp companies for your services/products, or a more passive approach in an environmental or social impact fund. A gender lens works in the same way. Even if you choose not to analyze your investments with a gender lens, there are still impacts on women and girls from your investments. So the choice is yours - you can choose an active or a more passive approach to your daily decisions and actions; or you can ignore these decisions altogether. However, you may miss very important opportunities, risks, and biases in your investment portfolio...and the worst decision is to inadvertently create more harm and inequality towards women.
In order to fully understand how to create a positive impact, let’s look at some concrete examples of how to invest with a gender lens. Criterion Institute, a thought leader and pioneer in the gender lens investing field, points to three primary investment objectives:
1) Access to capital
One gender lens is to increase access to capital for women entrepreneurs. In 2014, less than 12% of venture capital funding globally went to women-led businesses. However, a 2009 study found that venture-backed companies led or co-founded by women had annual revenues that were 12% higher than companies run only by men. They also used an average of one-third less committed capital and had lower failure rates. This doesn’t mean that companies with women leaders are always the best bet when it comes to VC or private equity investment. However, through recognizing the biases in our access to capital, investors can recognize investment opportunities that offer strong returns and promote women’s equality.
2) Workplace equality
By working with a trusted financial advisor or impact investing fund manager, or by actively reviewing annual reports and company policies - you can better invest in companies (e.g. Certified B Corps) that promote gender equity in the workplace, including women in senior-level positions and on boards, as well as firms with policies to support women’s needs such as health care, maternity leave, etc. A 2011 study by Catalyst found that companies with three or more women board directors outperformed companies with no women on their board by an 84% on return on sales (ROS), a 60% on return on invested capital (ROIC), and a 46% on return on equity (ROE). It appears that investing in the diversity of leadership and working styles actually makes good business sense.
3) Products and services
A relatively easy, but often overlooked option, is to invest in companies that create products and services which benefit women and girls. These businesses do not need to be women-led. Examples include clean cook stoves, affordable feminine hygiene products, and services and products that improve maternal health or access to education. Not only do these products and services likely improve the lives of women and girls, they often address market failures and gaps, which can mean high-growth investment opportunities.
Want to learn more about the field of gender lens investing? Check out these resources:
Criterion Institute published a report called “State of the Field of Gender Lens Investing” in October 2015. Don’t be deterred by its length—this report provides a comprehensive overview of the field, including its history, a strategic roadmap for the future, and key players. You can also check out the “Revalue Gender” section on Criterion’s website for blog posts, videos, and information on upcoming workshops and events.
Women Effect, a new initiative started by Suzanne Biegel, is a global membership community that promotes deploying or managing investment capital with a positive women effect. Women Effect’s website also has resources to learn more about the field and how to become involved with their work.
Impact Alpha has a section on their website called “Gender Lenses” with articles and resources for those interested in the gender lens investing field.
Veris Wealth Partners released a report in early 2015 called “Women, Wealth & Impact: Investing with a Gender Lens 2.0.” It provides an overview of the field and key players; it also delves more deeply into investment options across asset classes with gender lenses.
Calvert Foundation’s Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN) offers women-focused investments for everyday investors, as well as some resources for those looking to learn more.
Also, check out these articles on gender lens investing from the Stanford Social Innovation Review: “The Rise of Gender Capitalism” and “Belief-based Social Innovation: Gender-Lens’ Next Frontier.”
Do you have more questions or want to get involved?
Please contact us - email@example.com
By: Kim Kastorff
Being an entrepreneur certainly has its challenges - money, time, talent, niche, customers, technology, communication, leadership, focus, turnover - and the list goes on. With so many challenges, it is no wonder the failure rate is a whopping ~ 80% during the first 18 months, according to Forbes.
Yet, we are hearing that many women are now generating higher revenues, greater returns on investment and are achieving high success rates - both in the U.S. and developing countries. So, then why are such few women starting businesses?
Some plausible reasons are the dominance of men in engineering fields and tech industry; that less than 5% of women receiving VC funding; the lower acceptance rate for leading accelerator programs, and the relative lack of good mentors and support for women. Check out this March 2015 Q&A for more key insights from some of the top women VCs in the industry.
As a woman entrepreneur, and founder of Kimpacto (a San Francisco-based Impact Investing Advisory firm working in the U.S., Europe & Latin America) - I have faced many of these challenges mentioned, and more. For these reasons, I have begun to mentor other women entrepreneurs, and to offer support regarding personal challenges and business goals.
Over the years, I have been collaborating with numerous social impact organizations that support women entrepreneurs globally, one of which is Change Catalyst in San Francisco. My inspiring friend Melinda Briana Epler just provided a great "List of Accelerators for Women", as she continues to empower women leaders, specifically women in tech.
So in our pursuit and mission to empower women, here are some additional programs, information and resources to help you become a successful woman entrepreneur -
Accelerator & Training Programs for Women -
Among the leading accelerators is Y Combinator, which according to Forbes, have a mere ~ 4% female founders. Given the low acceptance and application rate among women - it is no surprise that women-specific programs are in demand. We encourage you to check out these programs specifically tailored to women entrepreneurs:
Astia is a community of over 1000 experts committed to building women leaders and accelerating the funding and growth of the companies they lead. Astia programs include providing access to capital, ensuring sustainable high-growth and developing the executive leadership of the women on the founding team.
Prosper helps women get their ideas off the ground by offering training and mentoring during a 3-month program, in addition to providing capital investments annually.
Count me in is a not-for-profit provider of business education and community support for women entrepreneurs desiring to turn their micro businesses into million dollar enterprises. Count Me In accelerates women’s business growth with online resources, live events, mentoring, peer exchange, technology support and business-building products.
Springboard Enterprises provides a U.S.-based but global premier platform that helps women build ‘big businesses’ with 500+ women-led participants, raising more than $6.6 billion, plus thousands of jobs. Springboard’s success rate is impressive, with roughly 80% still in business.
Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program is a national competition sponsored by Ernst & Young that selects high-potential women entrepreneurs and helps them scale.
Newme Accelerator offers online mentoring from Silicon Valley experts and coaches, based on its mission to educate and empower tech entrepreneurs globally. Note: Currently undergoing a re-launch.
Women’s Small Business Accelerator (WSBA) is an Ohio-based non-profit offering mentoring, education, shared office space, connections with other women, plus online support and resources.
Merge Lane seeks to both accelerate and invest in women run business, and promise to offer support until it is no longer needed. The program includes a residency requirement, virtual mentoring, an early stage curriculum and personal executive coaching.
Women Launch is a new program in 2015, which provides a Leadership & Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (LEAP) that is tailored for women founders with busy lifestyles.
Avinde is an Austin-based accelerator offering strong connections and relationships, as their core strength. Avinde’s founders are successful entrepreneurs with 25+ years of experience leading multimillion dollar ventures.
Other Networks, Resources & Conferences for Women -
Ogunte - a global platform for connecting and helping women social entrepreneurs make a positive impact on our people & planet.
Women’s Venture Capital Fund - currently expanding the pipeline and increasing the VC funding rate for women.
Women 2.0 - provides networking events every month around the country, and a conference in the fall.
SOCAP - a global impact investing conference held in November in San Francisco, which includes gender related themes for social investors and entrepreneurs.
Anita Borg Institute - promotes women in computing and technology and organizes the Grace Hopper conference in Houston, Texas in October.
To all the women entrepreneurs (or those thinking about it) - please know there is a lot of support for you and opportunities are expanding. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized equal rights in allowing same sex marriage. Just maybe this momentum will also lead to changes for women in the workplace (i.e. equal job offers, promotions, pay). Still today, women hold very few board seats and many also maintain their traditional responsibilities at home - and as you know, the list of challenges and demands is far greater. Yet, some of us continue to follow our dreams. Without a doubt, I am confident that together we can create sustainable and permanent change, and provide equal freedom and empowerment for women around the world.
Finally, my dream is to allow other women to follow their dreams. So, please reach out to share your thoughts or ideas, or to seek help or connections. I would love to support your dreams!
Sending much love to all the women entrepreneurs around the world ~
(Beth Kanter) - A few months ago, I facilitated a mini-innovation lab on measuring impact for grantees of the Google Nonprofit program at the Impact Hub. The workshop used design-thinking based on Luma methodology to help participants develop a communications strategy for measuring impact. The process took participants through an assessment of the problems facing them, collective brainstorming, and prototyping. The group included a mix of Google grantees as well as measurement professionals.
That’s where I met Kim Kastorff who is the founder of Kimpacto, a San Francisco-based advisory & consulting firm working across the U.S., Europe and Latin America. Her company helps mission-led businesses succeed, and also connect socially minded investors with “impact investing” opportunities, where they can generate both financial returns and social impact. She founded the firm to leverage her background in finance, education, and environmental areas. She graciously did this interview with me to share more of her knowledge.
1. Many times, nonprofits, especially smaller ones, do not have the resources to hire outside consultants to measure the impact of their programs. How can they get started?
With over 100 tools, approaches and platforms for measuring impact, the process can be overwhelming and time consuming. Here are three simple steps to get you started:
Plan for Success. Create a roadmap for measuring your financial + social impact. Acumen Fund has some free courses. Another option is to create a Theory of Change or Logic Model, which should include inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impact.
Set Program Goals & Metrics. Start with the question, “what does success look like?” Clarify quantifiable outcomes or metrics that can be easily measured on a routine basis.
Report Out. If a program falls in the woods, and no one’s there to hear it… You get the picture – impact is irrelevant if no one knows about it, so be sure to share updates with both stats and stories internally (i.e. board/staff meetings) and externally (i.e. newsletters, social media, blogs, annual reports, etc.)
One last note: don’t forget to task a person or team with the ongoing responsibility for collecting, analyzing, and reporting out the intel collected. If you want to go for extra credit, you can also do sector benchmarking with resources like B Analytics and CSR HUB.
2. What goes into a good communications strategy for talking about your program’s impact?
Your communication strategy should be a combination of both financial + social impact metrics, and should consider statistics and personal stories that convey your impact. Collect this content from Day 1, and share through all your channels, as outlined above.
Effective communications strategies revolve around content tailored for your target audience, reliable data and transparency. Having a mission-aligned strategy builds trust in your organization, develops the capacity and commitment of your staff, communicates your social impact clearly to potential or existing donors, investors and board members, and promotes collaboration or opportunities for others to join in your mission.
3. What are some of the best books or blogs or other resources for learning more about measuring impact?
There are some very helpful sites and publications that look more broadly at measuring social impact. Check out these great books and resources: Measuring and Improving Social Impacts and The Impact Investor; plus the ANDE Report, the Social Impact Investment Taskforce, the Measuring Impact Guidelines, the Good Analyst, the SROI Network, the GRI guidelines, the IRIS Guide, and for a comprehensive list of tools and methods – TRASI.
4. If an organization does hire an evaluation specialist to help with measuring impact, what makes for a good relationship?
The right consultant should help you both maximize income/donations and generate even greater social impact. First, determine your budget and then select a qualified consultant. Check out B Lab’s directory and choose someone with a solid background and who understands your industry/sector, geographic focus, and target population. Be sure she/he also has experience connecting your social impact assessment to marketing and fundraising efforts, and understands the leading social impact tools and technologies. Remember – a story well told can change the world. The right consultant can help measure and communicate your data and stories, which can maximize your donations and investments. Of course, greater dollars will help expand your mission’s depth and scale. So, here’s to all of you finding your own upward spiral!
- Francesco Baldissera, Kim Kastorff
Llegó el turno de las iniciativas públicas, y en este caso la referencia mundial es la iniciativa llevada a cabo por la Unión Europea (UE) y su proyecto Horizonte 2020.
¿Que es Horizonte 2020?
Es el programa marco de la Unión Europea para financiar las iniciativas de investigación y desarrollo de los países miembros. Cerca de 80 billónes de euros en financiación para los próximos 7 años. La política responde al criterio de que la ciencia puntera y responsable puede aportar soluciones bio-económicas lo suficientemente atractivas para voltear la Pirámide Demográfica de Europa. ¿Por Qué? Porque afianzando un crecimiento económico sostenible se crearán las condiciones (empleo y salarios) para que los jóvenes se involucren activamente dentro de la creación de Europa y eventualmente se planteen el formar una familia.
¿Cual es el Objetivo de Horizonte 2020?
Es un esfuerzo de la UE por mantener la competitividad económica de la región en los años venideros. Su enfoque va más allá de la generación de riqueza o creación de valor económico, de hecho, busca hacerlo de una manera responsable y no sólo dentro de sus fronteras, sino también garantizando procesos éticos y sostenibles en sus vecinos geográficos inmediatos, como es el caso de Túnez.
También es una política que busca cambiar el modelo productivo industrial por el del conocimiento. Es la búsqueda de competitividad por calidad y no por precio lo que preocupa a Europa, puesto que la segunda conlleva un sacrificio enorme en la calidad de vida de los ciudadanos, como bien se pudo apreciar durante la crisis financiera en el sur de Europa.
¿Cuáles son las áreas de interés?
Presenta tres áreas prioritarias; Excelencia en ciencia, Liderazgo industrial y Cambios sociales. De esta manera la primera área facilitará la segunda que creará los cambios sociales. La idea de la UE es que las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PYMES) de la región se involucren en el proyecto, para ello ha simplificado considerablemente el proceso de financiación.
El proyecto Horizonte 2020 va más allá de únicamente aportar financiación. De hecho la UE a través de la Comisión Europea mantiene abiertos sus canales de comunicación para escuchar a sus stakeholders y mantener políticas que satisfagan las necesidades ciudadanas más allá de lo financiero.
La UE manejará las candidaturas del proyecto a nivel institucional y tomará las decisiones de inversión, pero, lo que determinará el éxito de los proyectos es el nivel de implicación, liderazgo y acción de cada uno, para ello Kimpacto ofrece apoyo y consultoría de primer nivel, además de una red de contactos global, para todos aquellos que como Kimpacto, buscan jugar un papel relevante en la construcción de un mejor planeta.
- Kim Kastorff, Francesco Baldissera -
Summer 2014 in Brazil, the world's most followed sporting event is held. Despite all the emotions that the sport generates for its greatest fans, you can not ignore its great economic and social impact on societies, not all of which is positive.
Maybe this World Cup has been characterized by one thing: the protests and negativity which certainly impede what should be celebrations and rejoice for their deep love - football (soccer). Of course, the Brazilians are not without reason. There are two that seem to be primarily responsible for this civil unrest, (1) the International Federation of Association Football (“FIFA”) and (2) the Brazilian government.
First, the Brazilian government's main criticism is the assumption of the costs of infrastructure and hosting this event. Building multimillion-dollar stadiums in a country with serious problems of education and health was one of the main complaints during massive demonstrations regarding the exorbitant economic cost of $11bn - twice that of the South Africa cup - according to BBC. Even die-hard fans have a hard time justifying this displacement of dollars, and especially during the slowing Brazilian economy.
While others agree with the decision to hold the World Cup in Brazil, and that perhaps it may boost the economy through tourism and consumption, and open our minds (and pocketbooks) in support of social change - as seen in the favelas, for example. Kim Kastorff, founder of Kimpacto recently met with Elliot Rosenberg who started the “Favela Experience” in a Rio-based favela, which allows tourists to enter the local reality of the World Cup but from the viewpoint of a favela (areas of extreme poverty). Based on this visit, there appears to be heavy police presence and also reports of favelas being raided by police to "clean up" drugs and weapons before the World Cup. Perhaps, there are some positive social changes and some (relatively) safer communities being created, despite it’s intention - which is to keep the foreign tourists safe. Most surprising, however, is that the World Cup tourists are choosing to spend some of their time touring, sleeping in, and discovering the ‘real’ side of Brazil, and its’ corresponding social issues, and even spending their tourist dollars in these poorer communities.
So then, we can think positively - what if hosting the World Cup could lay the foundation for long-term economic growth and perhaps unleash the true social development that Brazil needs? Some argue that the World Cup has contributed to increasing wealth over the past several years, and the increasing population that are coming out of poverty and entering the middle class. While clearly there have been some positive economic and social trends, the issue doesn’t end with purely World Cup Economics nor the Brasilian government - on the other side is FIFA - and here the World Cup bashers see the glass as half empty.
Some of the hostility has been triggered by the FIFA scandals of recent years, which have tarnished its image. It many minds, it is no longer an institution that promotes the positive aspects of the sport, nor as a contributor to the social fabric that will make this a more sustainable world. To make matters worse, we experience the deaths of Brazilian workers who are building the stadiums and infrastructure, some working in ‘slave-like’ conditions, meanwhile thousands of poor people are being evicted and now homeless, and then comes mounting concerns over child prostitution, and the list goes on.
While it takes some effort to be a socially responsible company, these FIFA scandals and related incidents are an element of public relations which demonstrates no real commitment or global vision for creating positive social change in developing economies such as Brazil - and especially given that FIFA is an institution with immense power, money and worldwide impact, and unfortunately a role model for our youth and our future.
What is FIFA’s response? It is really the responsibility of the government. According to the Guardian Sustainable Business, “But Fifa and corporate sponsors are missing a powerful opportunity to negotiate with the government to make sure that communities are compensated fully, workers are well-treated and fairly paid, and vulnerable people are protected. They could play a bigger role in giving the World Cup an enduring legacy of human rights and prosperity.”
What can we do, as citizens and fans?
First, every one of us should make a commitment and responsibility to improve our communities. For institutions such as FIFA, we could push for an increased focus on collaboration with local institutions and non-profit foundations beyond UNICEF, and to let our voices be heard in regards to corporate responsibility, human rights, and social impact. Perhaps these riots could be turned into positive social campaigns during the World Cup. For example, we could further promote tourism development in areas of the country that are traditionally marginalized by poverty, and all the corresponding social problems that arise from it. We should think about a collaborative and shared economy, where we ALL play a role and as we join in efforts with our public institutions, private business and other ordinary citizens - so the true empowerment of communities is achieved.
So, who are the good role models? Although there are many non-profits, foundations and companies that engage in social enterprise and impact investing (e.g. Education, Poverty, Health), Kim Kastorff (of Kimpacto) was fortunate to be in Brazil at the opening of the World Cup and to meet some of the social leaders, including Pipa who is accelerating entrepreneurs and businesses who generate high social impact. Also, VOX Capital who is the first Impact Investing fund (GIIRS rated) in Brazil and supports innovative business solutions targeted to help low-income populations; Gera Venture who has made strides in developing and raising the bar for the education sector; and SITAWI who offers professional support and investment solutions to socially responsible businesses throughout Brazil.
While these companies are some of the key leaders in Brazil who are offering more sustainable, innovative and socially responsible solutions; they need not be unique. Everyone can take a first step, and to establish channels of communication with similar groups and to engage in a social cause - whether in Brazil or your home community. We feel it is a golden opportunity for the World Cup games to set a social example for the world to follow, and as a stepping stone for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
So, I leave you with a thought - What if we put the same media attention, citizen effort and energy into impact investing and the resolution of social problems? What could we accomplish if we change our negative energy (riots, strikes, scandals) to positive energy (social change)?
For inspiration, please check out The World Cup Project, “a new documentary mini-series that will showcase the world’s favourite sport - football - and its power to impact social change around the globe in the build up to the 2014 World Cup.”
We want to know your opinions, and your social initiatives in your home community. Also, if you want to offer support or have ideas, please reach out to Kimpacto (firstname.lastname@example.org). Obrigada and enjoy the World Cup!
- Francesco Baldissera, Kim Kastorff -
Con la crisis, vemos más y más emprendedores en españa. Más del 25% de los emprendedores empezó un negocio, porque no había otras opciones.
- The Atlantic, 2012 de octubre.
Pero, ¿cómo puedo ser un emprendedor?
1. Sea creativo: A las necesidades o preferencias de un mercado, es así como encontrarás las ideas. Lo mejor que puedes hacer es tener una idea o varias y contarselas a la mayor cantidad de gente posible. No tengas miedo a que roben tu idea, esto realmente es bueno: Significa que tu idea funciona. A medida que lleves a cabo tu misión exploratoria seguramente te irán surgiendo ideas de todos los tamaños y tonos de absurdo; no te preocupes, ya lo decía David Ogilvy: “Las mejores ideas vienen como chistes, haz tus pensamientos tan divertidos como puedas”. Mantente creativo y sal de la oficina, aparca el ordenador y patea la calle.
2. Identificar un sector/nicho: Lo que sí deberías tomarte en serio es que clase de emprendedor te gustaría ser. Para esto necesitas identificar qué problema o necesidad resolverá tu empresa y quien es tu cliente objetivo. Debes preguntarte: ¿Por qué nadie ha hecho esto antes? Y si lo han hecho: ¿Puedo mejorar esa solución? ¿Existe una parte de este mercado “desatendido”? Identificar la magnitud del problema y determinar por qué serás capaz y cómo estas calificado para resolverlo es clave para formular la propuesta de valor de tu startup.
Startup de base tecnológica, emprendedor social o una oferta de ocio y restauración innovadora en tu ciudad. Bien puedes adaptar ideas de otras realidades a la tuya o incluso fusionarlas. Los nuevos paradigmas económicos y sociales apuntan hacia una nueva manera de hacer negocios: La Economía Colaborativa. Esta idea presenta una verdadera revolución económica y social, sobretodo para los países en desarrollo, puesto que básicamente permite hacer más con menos.
En su blog Paul Graham explica dos maneras de identificar ideas para startups: Preguntarnos qué quiero que alguien haga para mí o qué necesidades necesita cubrir un determinado mercado.
3. Construir un equipo: Antes de empezar a planificar y trabajar en tu startup, tienes que saber quién irá en el bote contigo. Para ello necesitarás hacerte con un equipo; lo que debes tener en cuenta a la hora de buscar compañeros de equipo es que compartan tu misma visión del problema/necesidad que buscas resolver y que su ética de trabajo sea excelente, esto va mucho más de tener una relación de amistad. No todas las personas deben compartir nivel de experiencia o habilidades.
Es muy importante para definir adecuadamente los roles dentro del equipo y sus niveles de responsabilidad, bien sean empleados, consultores o accionistas de tu empresa. Tal vez lo más importante sea la actitud de la persona y cómo será su reacción en los momentos de estrés que seguramente encontrarás, esto es clave para mantener al equipo cohesionado.
Otra idea para formar equipo es aprovechar los espacios de coworking o Impact HUB (en Madrid) que permiten el aprovechamiento de sinergias y aumentar tu red de contactos, porque seamos honestos: A veces no es tan importante lo que sabes sino a quién conoces.
Generalmente a los inversores les interesa más el equipo y los líderes que lo coordinan que la idea empresarial como tal. ¡Los inversores invierten en tí!
4. Movilizar: Recursos y personas para gestionar este paso puede convertirse en una tarea complicada pero ello se debe a un aspecto positivo: Hay una gran cantidad de oportunidades. Para salir exitosos de este paso es necesario conocer el extenso universo emprendedor español. Simplificandolo podemos describir el entorno emprendedor de la siguiente manera:
5. Networking: ¡Habla con tus clientes! Y con cualquier otro posible grupo de interés, identifica sus necesidades y/o inquietudes, ve practicando tu Elevator Pitch, llegó la hora de comunicar tu proyecto y sin esto el paso previo puede que no aporte valor. Es aquí donde debes centrarte para cerrar la “venta” de tu proyecto y aprovechar al máximo todo lo que las redes, business angels y concursos tienen para ofrecer.
Para ello necesitas estructurarlo, en la web cuentas con diferentes herramientas para establecer tu modelo y comunicar tu visión de empresa. De gran interés también pueden resultar algunos eventos en donde podrás encontrar consejos de gente con experiencias similares y aumentar tus redes de networking, tanto en la vida real como a través de los medios sociales: LinkedIn, Feathr, Bizzabo.
6. Revisar: La metodología "Lean Startup" de Eris Ries con la cual se busca traspasar los primeros momentos de incertidumbre de tu empresa y afianzar el uso eficiente del capital afianzando los procesos creativos. La importancia de tener siempre en cuenta al cliente, puesto que tu modelo de negocio se basa en su satisfacción, se torna obvia. No en vano Jeff Bezos se ha obsesionado con esto.
Una recomendación interesante para aplicar en este paso de tu proceso hacia convertirte en emprendedor es la de Janelle Barlow en su libro “A complaint is a gift”; podemos resumir esta idea en tomar la perspectiva de que el feedback con el cliente es la plataforma de despegue del cohete en que se convertirá tu startup. Otro muy buen recurso es el libro de Carlos Blanco (líder emprendedor español) “"Los Principales Errores De Los Emprendedores".
Aunque todo esto puede ser de gran ayuda, es muy recomendable el asesoramiento de expertos. No dudes en comentar este post o ponerte en contacto con Kimpacto. Su fundadora con 18 años de experiencia en el sector financiero creó esta empresa con certificado B Corporation determina su compromiso ofreciendo soluciones para acercar emprendedores locales a un entorno global que permita no sólo el crecimiento de su negocio sino también el impacto positivo que este tendrá en la comunidad.
- Francesco Baldissera, Kim Kastorff -
La prensa económica española y mundial recientemente ha publicado lo que parece indicar una tímida pero coherente salida de la crisis. Digo coherente porque el motivo de estos pequeños brotes verdes de la economía ibérica está estrechamente relacionado con la gran afluencia de capitales extranjeros, como es el caso de Bill Gates en FCC.
Sectores “tradicionalmente” sólidos de la economía española como la construcción y la banca, viven en estos últimos meses un esperado repunte, que algunos se atreven a calificar como el comienzo de la salida de la crisis.
Sin embargo, aunque el discurso oficial de salida de la crisis puede estar generando confianza en los grandes capitales extranjeros; el ciudadano español todavía no le ha visto el queso a la tostada. Aunque los datos macroeconómicos apuntan hacia caminos más verdes, la carga fiscal que soporta el contribuyente medio español puede estar determinando su calidad de vida en el corto y medio plazo.
Esta situación económica actual, aunque no ideal, presenta las oportunidades perfectas para desarrollar las llamadas inversiones de impacto. Educación, salud y desarrollo económico, son las áreas sobre las que se centra el foco de este tipo de inversiones.
Inversiones de impacto en España
En España, en el sector microcrediticio, el más grande e importante sector de inversiones de impacto social, se hace llamativa la importancia que cobran las cajas de ahorros canalizado esta clase de inversiones a través de su Obra Social con una importante interrelación con la comunidad de determinadas áreas geográficas (Principalmente Cataluña y Euskadi); por ejemplo: El caso de Kutxabank.
No obstante, no es de las inversiones de impacto que más éxito tenga en este país. Los microcréditos suelen funcionar bien en países en vías de desarrollo, con altos porcentajes de población por debajo de la línea de pobreza e importantes ratios de economía sumergida como principal sustento de las familias.
En España la gente tradicionalmente ha buscado trabajos con una cierta seguridad laboral, teniendo el sector público una alta relevancia. Pero las circunstancias actuales están cambiando las reglas del juego, la alta tasa de paro - y después de dos años la terminación de las ayudas estatales al desempleo- ha convertido en menester fomentar el crecimiento económico a través de lo que podría llamarse la Fiebre Emprendedora Española, que presenta lo que parece la única alternativa para los españoles en esta situación.
Dentro de este sector, el emprendimiento social cuenta con el apoyo financiero de diversas entidades pública para solicitar financiación, como es el caso de la Fundación Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), la Agencia Española para la Cooperación Internacional y Desarrollo (AECID) o la Empresa Nacional de Innovación (ENISA).
Sin embargo las iniciativas privadas parecen tener un modelo más efectivo, al otorgar apoyo de calidad, tanto en el ámbito financiero -Fundaciones y gestoras de capital riesgo- como aportando una red de ecosistemas que fomenta el compartir espacios y el libre flujo de recursos entre los distintos innovadores sociales, en la forma de incubadoras y/o aceleradoras y formación específica en escuelas de negocio.
Todo esto pone de manifiesto que España es un país que reconoce la innovación y emprendimiento social como una herramienta clave y factor determinante como artífices de la economía sostenible.
De acuerdo al Mapa de la inversiones de impacto en España, el sector presenta dos principales áreas geográficas de actuación: España y Latinoamérica; y augura que el interés en la península por este tipo de prácticas financieras está en auge, aunque aún falta mucho por desarrollar.
¿Por qué Latinoamérica? Es una relación cultural que va mucho más allá del lenguaje, la emigración y la presencia de importantes empresas y su impacto económico en los sectores industriales y de servicios. Esta influencia hace que la vida de los hispanohablantes este de alguna manera impactada por las empresas multinacionales que operan en ambos lados del Atlántico.
Es interesante destacar el papel de las iniciativas de inversiones de impacto en iberoamérica. Uno de sus principales actores lo tenemos en la Fundación BBVA Microfinanzas. Esta institución líder del mercado español y muy prominente en hispanoamérica, ha demostrado un interés significativo durante los últimos años en la compra de entidades microfinancieras u ONG’s en proceso de convertirse en banco de microcréditos, consolidando la relación entre ambas regiones. Para acelerar y afianzar este proceso; garantiza la independencia empresarial, comercial y estratégica de las entidades microcrediticias del BBVA.
Adoptando compromisos de formación en capital humano y buen gobierno corporativo, la fundación se asegura del correcto cumplimiento de las políticas de inversiones de impacto de la entidad, convirtiéndose en uno de los principales actores para este sector en la región de Iberoamérica y España.
Sin duda un proyecto importante, que hasta la fecha ha otorgado un total de 6.058 MM $ en microcréditos de la Fundación BBVA Microfinanzas; tomando así un papel fundamental en el compromiso de paliar las causas y posibles consecuencias de la pobreza extrema en países en vías de desarrollo como: Colombia, Perú, Chile y República Dominicana, entre otros.
Estas iniciativas de inversión españolas en latinoamérica buscan consolidar el compromiso con el desarrollo de la región; aunque a algunos pueda resultar absurdo que el compromiso financiero no se destine únicamente al mercado interno español; esta clase de iniciativas pueden ser una alternativa a largo plazo. Puesto que fomenta el desarrollo de negocios en el extranjero, permite un intercambio cultural del que los emprendedores españoles pueden aprender mucho vista la experiencia de los latinoamericanos que siempre hemos vivido en crisis.
En España, según el INE el porcentaje de la población que se encuentra bajo el umbral de pobreza es del 19,9% los españoles están encontrando cada vez más cosas en común con los latinoamericanos debido a la crisis, los recientes problemas políticos y la inestabilidad general.
¿Crees que las inversiones de impacto pueden ayudar a resolver el problema por sí solas? ¿El problema de base está relacionado a factores culturales o políticas del gobierno? ¿Contribuirán las inversiones en Latinoamérica a mejorar las relaciones o crearán más resentimiento por localizar la inversión fuera de España? ¡Déjanos tus comentarios!
Kimpacto se presenta como facilitador para cualquier persona o negocio interesado en desarrollar inversiones de impacto en España, Estados Unidos o Latinoamérica. Su slogan “Doing good makes good business sense” resume en una sola frase su sencillo pero valioso propósito: Establecer un nexo entre los innovadores sociales y los posibles inversores interesados.
By: Kim Kastorff
"It's time to recognize that the philosophy of 'maximize shareholder value' is such a defunct economist's idea", says Lynn Stout, professor of Cornell Law School (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/02/opinion/la-oe-stout-stock-prices-20120902).
We are seeing that this focus on the short-term share price can be damaging to a firms' employees, taxpayers and society, but also its shareholders. Still shareholders are concerned with financial returns and maximizing shareholder wealth. Are shareholders also concerned with social impact, and is there a trade-off?
Certainly some shareholders have little concern for society, our environment or our sustainable future. Yet, a growing number of impact investors such as those found at the Investors Circle Conference held in San Francisco in May 2013, are raising important questions around both the firms' financial sustainability and social impact. In seeking angel investing or VC funding, the entrepreneur or firm may have to demonstrate their alignment in social mission, and to demonstrate that with quantifiable social metrics, tracking and reports. Some of the firms seeking funding promote their high GIIRS (Global Impact Investing Rating System) score (giirs.org) similar to Morningstar Investment rankings. Other social enterprises displayed their B Corporation logo, which is offered by the B Lab, a non-profit agency which can certify firms “wishing to benefit society as well as their shareholders” (www.bcorporation.net), in exchange for an annual fee and a comprehensive questionnaire process.
Sustainability and social impact advocates (e.g. Kimpacto) and other promoters of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are encouraging firms to not only strive for third party ratings, but also to consider routine and current sustainability and social impact reports as part of their financial planning and competitive edge. Justification for your time and efforts include:
- Sustainability or Impact reports account for sector-specific environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors which can assist with operational and strategic decisions;
- IRIS metrics and GIIN standards are globally accepted and therefore can offer insightful comparisons and competitive benchmarking;
- Routine measurement and reporting better prepares the firm for similar questions needed to achieve a high GIIRS rating every two years, or to obtain B Corp status; and
- More and more researchers are demonstrating that firms who measure and report on these factors actually obtain long-term financial returns and benefits. (http://www.greenbiz.com/blog, INCR propose listing standards for stock exchanges By Robert Kropp, Published May 03, 2013)
Possibly there are some choices to be made. Are you seeking immediate financial gains with little regard to long-term social or environmental issues? Or, are you striving for greater sustainable social change along with patient capital and long-term financial returns?
Increasingly more initiatives are pushing for the latter, a long-term sustainable financial + social impact approach. According to Kropp (May 2013), "Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) is an initiative by the United Nations that seeks 'corporate transparency, and performance on ESG issues and responsible long-term approaches to investment." For example, both the "Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) - requiring 450 companies to produce integrated reports, and the Brazilian Stock Exchange, adopted a report-or-explain position in order to promote sustainability reporting among listed companies.
Along with increased measurement and reporting on sustainability and social metrics, we now have greater insights into the correlation between financial returns and environmental / social returns. When making these comparisons, it is important to differentiate between negative screening, positive screening, ethical investments, sustainable investing, impact investing or responsible investments, to name a few. As with financial investments, these social and environmental mission driven approaches have various purposes, objectives and strategies. According to the book, Sustainable Investing: The Art of Long-Term Performance (Krosinsky and Robins, 2008), "Responsible investment is an overlay that can be performed on top of ethical, sustainable or mainstream strategies", but which falls under the SRI subcategory.
Each category or strategy may produce different performance results, so again, it is important not to lump all social / environmental mission investments into a catchall group from which to generalize the performance against market benchmarks. For example, a study of 850 global SRI portfolios, Krosinsky and Robins found that the 'ethical funds' performed basically in-line against the 5-year average of the FTSE 100 and S&P 500, and significantly under-performed in comparison to the MSCI World Index. However, the "sustainable investing" funds significantly outperformed returning 18.7% on a five-year average return from 2002-2007, against major indices: MSCI World (17%), S&P 500 (13.2%) and FTSE 100 (13%). Even when considering all 135 SRI funds together (i.e. not differentiating 'ethical' vs. 'sustainable'), the five-year average return was impressive at 15.2%, which is a competitive rate of return, with a lower risk profile and a focus on long-term sustainable social change. Again, we see that "funds that invest in a dual manner, both mitigating risk and seeking opportunity at the same time, have been outperforming most significantly of all" (Krosinky and Robins, 2008).
Similar to financially motivated investments, some will outperform and some will underperform. So, when you hear that a Social or Ethical or Sustainable Investment achieved lower returns....please do not conclude there is a "trade-off" between financial and social return. Like ALL investments, you take a risk and sometimes you place your eggs in the wrong basket.
According to the latest study (May 2013) from SJF Institute and Duke University, the "Impact commitment correlates with basic measures of business success. Contrary to the popular belief that companies working to have positive social and environmental impact have a hard time growing as fast or being as profitable as traditional enterprises, our research shows that at the enterprise level, a tangible commitment to impact... is strongly correlated with overall business growth. This trend is statistically valid across all industry segments.. company ages, and geographies." (http://sites.duke.edu/casei3/whats-new/publications/ “Accelerating Impact Enterprises: How to Lock, Stock and Anchor Impact Enterprises for Maximum Impact “ by Cathy Clark, Matt Allen, Bonny Moellenbrock and Chinwe Onyeagoro)
So, what is your financial return and social impact? Are you generating positive returns and positive social imapct? Do you even know? Will you be motivated to measure and report on social metrics if your business success is correlated to your impact commitment? If you are still resistant, what will you tell your employees, customers, donors, lenders, board of directors or investors when they ask about your social or environmental impact commitment? Or, maybe your competitors will explain for you!
Sooner or later, you will have no option but to measure and report your business success - both financial + social and environmental. And, why would you avoid it? After all, there is no real trade-off, which means that you can have both a financial return and social/environmental impact. Of course, the decision is up to you, since what you measure is what you achieve. Just remember, that in an era of greater transparency, communication and heightened social and environmental concerns ... 'Doing good makes good business sense" (Kimpacto.com).
By: Kim Kastorff
If you think of a new or creative idea, would you consider that 'innovation'? Why do we sometimes say 'innovative idea' and other times we just say 'idea'? How can we measure or understand innovation if we don't have a clear idea of what constitutes "innovation" in the first place? It seems that often words are used interchangeably - idea, creativity, innovation - and that there is no clear boundary defining the innovative stage in the product cycle.
So, I began to question - how do we define 'innovation' and how long is it considered 'innovative'? For example, the telephone was once considered innovative, but probably nobody would consider that innovative today in the world of mobile apps and other technology. That is an obvious example, but what about Impact Investing? Is Impact Investing considered innovative? And, if so, is it still considered innovative or has it moved beyond to something more legitimized and mainstream? First, let's define 'innovation'....
According to Hitt et. al (2001) innovation can be defined as “the identification and exploitation of previously unexploited opportunities.” Innovative processes involve creating new resources or using existing resources in a unique way, in order to commercialize products or services, enter into new markets, or target new customers.
Rogers defines innovation as “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived to be new by an individual or other unit of adoption." Communication is an important element, defined as “a process in which participants create and share information to reach a mutual understanding” and ultimately, the innovation achieves diffusion through “certain channels over time, among the members of a social system” (Rogers, 1995).
Now, let's compare these definitions to Impact Investing and decide if this field makes the Innovative List. We are already seeing the transfer of resources through innovative financial instruments and indices, new tools for measurement and reporting standards developing globally. Innovative solutions are offered in order to transfer capital (e.g. mutual funds, social impact bonds, private equity, internet-based lending, crowd funding) and to quantify financial + social measurement using new social metrics (e.g. IRIS).
Many believe that impact investing is capable of reaching a potentially larger scale than donor-based philanthropic institutions. For example, a subset of impact investing is the U.S. based “Community Development Finance”, which has seen significant growth since the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was passed in 1977, and additionally the Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), which was initiated in 1992. Resulting policies and innovative financial products have supported growth in excess of $23 billion in assets in 2006 (Fulton and Freireich, 2009).
Accordingly, the field has moved beyond the initial innovation phase, and has entered into a marketplace building phase where infrastructure is developing, along with centers of activity, and is achieving global scale. A 2010 study estimates the European SRI market has reached nearly €5 trillion, as of December 2009, which represents roughly an 87% growth over the prior year (EuroSIF, 2010). A more recent JP Morgan study shows that the UK, US, European, and Australian governments have made over USD $5 billion available for impact investment over the past few years (Saltuk, 2011), and the potential to grow to about $500 billion, including high growth sub-sectors of Microfinance ($25 billion in 2006), and Clean Technology investments ($148 billion in 2007) (Fulton and Freireich, 2009).
This demand-side has been triggered in part by the public attention given to Muhammad Yunus, when he received the nobel peace prize in 2006 for his contributions in developing the Grameen Bank and this notion of ´banking for the poor´, which later became known as micro-credits (www.muhammadyunus.org). Microfinance institutions (MFIs) range from very small non-profit associations to large commercial banks, both serving a mission to help the poor, unemployed or entrepreneurs who cannot obtain standard bank products.
Social entrepreneurs have achieved scale based on their innovative and practical approaches, and long-term sustainability focus on social issues (e.g. poverty). Social business ventures have also made social impact a high priority, and operate as for-profit businesses. Since 2008, the B Lab has certified 750 B Corp. businesses in 27 countries and 6 continents, as of the 1st quarter 2013 (http://www.bcorporation.net). These firms consider both soft ethical and social values and also hard proactive measures. Occasionally, social and impact firms may partner with other Corporations, angel investors or VC firms, in order to further drive change through their social expertise, large professional networks, and supply chains that scale social products and services.
Collectively, the impact investing movement is driving social change and greater awareness and momentum. In the last few years, we have seen more actors, change agents, opinion leaders and network connectors for the impact investing field, including the Global Impact Investor Network, Investor´s Circle, ANDES, and Social Venture Network (Ashta, 2011). The GIIN Investors´ Council is a “leadership group” comprised of more than 50 impact investors ranging from banks, pension funds, foundations and family offices and across various geographies, with a goal of advancing the learning and growth of the field (www.giin.org).
So, is Impact Investing innovative? In contrast to the outdated idea of throwing money at a problem or other such short-term approaches, impact investing considers innovative solutions for helping businesses and communities become self-sustainable. It seems that innovation is found at the core of impact investing, with proactive approaches to seeking greater social impact and sustainable systemic change. We are experiencing a shift from short-term gratification to the idea of long-term solutions which carry forward and benefit generations to come.
Is this a new idea for you?
Doing good makes good business sense - Kimpacto (kimpacto.com).
By: Kim Kastorff
Impact Investing and Venture Capital (VC) often take off and form superhero powers when in sync and mission-aligned. We may see truly magical power when social impact scales over walls, cities and across foreign lands. Yet, these successful missions may give the impression that one cannot exist without the other. Truth be told, VC firms are helping fund the Impact Investing industry, but should they get ALL the credit? Are VC firms the new superhero of the modern world? Or, are other groups deserving recognition?
First, we want to thank the VCs for their enormous impact. For example, SJF Ventures raised $90 million along with its third fund to deliever social impact growth investments. Mainstream banks were among the investors into the fund - Citicorp and Deutsche Bank, along with insurance companies, foundations, and wealthy families and individuals (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-02/one-bright-spot-for-vcs-impact-investing).
What this demonstrates is that impact investing also collaborates among many non-profit and for-profit sectors, to include: mainstream banks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), pension funds, private and family foundations, insurance companies, high net worth individuals, grant making, social venture capital funds, private equity, debt providers and social impact bonds (Mulgan et. al, 2011).
Collectively, impact investing creates jobs among bottom of the pyramid (BoP) communities, increased sustainability and more diverse and innovative solutions as compared to “NGOs or other donor-driven programs” (Ruttmann, 2012). Thus, impact investing is requiring more proactive solutions and measurement approaches, and long-term sustainability among these communities. Occasionally these firms and investments are seeking a greater social impact and a longer term horizon, which may not always be compatible with some VCs or investors and further necessitate the involvement with other for-profit and non-profit entities.
Thus, impact investors are open to a variety of sectors, investors, entities and asset classes as long as the mission is a long-term solution considering both financial + social impact. For example, as opposed to throwing money at the problem or other such short-term solutions, impact investing seeks to build the communities and business to become self-sustainable in the long-term. Mission alignment becomes more important, and terms such as ‘collective impact’ are more commonly used in this space.
While there are a variety of collaborative impact investing institutions, we are seeing rankings and clear leaders who are scaling the field. Impact Assets developed the “IA50”, providing the top 50 funds globally, including: Acumen Fund, Bridges Ventures, Calvert Social Investment Foundation, Grassroots Business Fund, Habitat for Humanity, IGNIA Partners, LeapFrog Investments, Root Capital, RSF Finance, SJF Ventures, and Triodos Investment Management. So, not only the VC funded ventures are achieving scale but a wide variety of collaborations, both for-profit and non-profit.
Amid the economic crisis, certain banking institutions have risen to be leaders in offering significant socially responsible and transparent solutions for social change. For example, Triodos Bank originating in the Netherlands, is considered the #1 social bank and is consistently growing year after year despite the global credit crisis. In Oakland, California, One Pacific Coast Bank offers loans to individuals that previously wouldn't qualify and utilizes a graduated system. This program gives the consumer a chance and the opportunity to establish a credit rating, and eventually the person or firm will become self-sustainable or have a sufficient credit rating to apply for standard products, along with the other creditworthy members of society. Even traditional banks are now adopting microfinance, social responsibility, or impact investing practices, which may generate growth and expansion from these demand-side product offerings and socially acceptable practices.
A true superhero- Muhammad Yunus received the nobel peace prize in 2006 for his contributions in developing the Grameen Bank and promotes the notion of ´banking for the poor´, which later became known as micro-credits (www.muhammadyunus.org). Overall, microfinance institutions (MFIs) may range from very small non-profit associations to large commercial banks, both serving a mission to help the poor, unemployed or entrepreneurs who cannot obtain standard bank products. Among the MFIs we may see foundations, cooperatives, credit unions, non-bank financial institutions and commercial banks (Martin, 2011).
Social entrepreneurship institutions also have achieved scale based on their innovative and practical approaches, long-term sustainability focus on social issues (e.g. poverty). Entrepreneurial firms may grow in size, and become known as SMEs (small and medium size enterprises), which trigger further innovation, job creation, and economic growth. SMEs are common institutional forms in emerging economies, possibly subject to different laws and regulations, depending on size and social purpose.
Collectively, these various institutional types have created significant global social change, and consequently greater awareness and momentum. In the last few years, we have seen more actors, change agents, opinion leaders and network connectors for the impact investing field, including the influential investors network - Investor´s Circle and Toniic. The GIIN Investors´ Council is another “leadership group” comprised of more than 50 impact investors ranging from banks, pension funds, foundations and family offices and across various geographies, with a goal of advancing the learning and growth of the field (www.giin.org).
Together as these institutions implement impact investing products and approaches, we will see many more superhero missions and powerful institutional forces coming to the rescue. Along with our collective efforts, we want to show our gratitude to all the mission-aligned VC firms for their social good, and to the many other superheroes who are fearless and persistent in conquering the evils in our world. Together, may we rise above the doom and gloom era and strive for better communities that consider financial sustainability and also our social and environmental impact.
'Doing good makes good business sense' - Kimpacto (kimpacto.com).
Kim Kastorff has 15+ years of international finance experience and two Masters degrees - MBA and a Masters of Research in Impact Investing. Specific areas of expertise are in banking, financial and investment services, energy and sustainability, consulting, and financial education. Years ago, I told my students the purpose of business is to "Maximize shareholder returns." Today, it seems that stakeholders care about both "Maximizing financial + social impact." So, I am dedicated to helping impact investors and entrepreneurs adjust and remain competitive in this new environment. My goal is to promote impact investing and financial inclusion as we collectively strive for a more educated and financially sustainable global environment.