Fish 2.0, Ecoscraps, Lessons in Impact Investing

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IN THIS ISSUE >

EcoScraps

Impact Investing Lessons

2013 Seed Fund Applications

Fish 2.0 Competition

Nature Smart

Upcoming Events

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WHAT WE VALUE >

“The purpose of capital at this critical time in the history of civilization is to sustain life, restore health, and to catalyze a regenerative economy that delivers shared prosperity and respects the biophysical boundaries of the planet.” – John Fullerton, from the essay “Gospel of Wealth”

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February 2013

What is impact investing done right? Morgan Simon asks—and illustrates—in her latest post on the Reimagine Money blog. Also, check out Richard Louv’s essay on the importance of nature in education. In other news, read about a new loan to EcoScraps, the 2013 Seed Fund, and upcoming events.

RSF Social Finance Makes a Loan to EcoScraps

RSF Social Finance (RSF) is pleased to announce a $500,000 loan to EcoScraps, a provider of organic, chemical and manure-free lawn and garden products. RSF financing will help fund EcoScraps’ rapid growth as it continues to expand its network of waste management partnerships and exposure in retail outlets across the country.

EcoScraps gardening products, which are made 100 percent from food waste, enrich garden plots with twice the amount of soil nutrients than that of typical manure and chemical-based products. In just a couple of short years, the company has established a new infrastructure model for creating organic compost, allowing it to quickly expand and reach a wide variety of consumers. Read more

Impact Investing: Lessons from the Field

By Morgan Simon

I invite investors and entrepreneurs to take the “transformative challenge”. Ask yourselves: is the local community included in the design, governance and ownership of the enterprise? If not, what has been lost? Looking at the financial flows of the enterprise, how much is staying in the community vs. being exported out of the region or country?

The point of this framing is not to say that all projects must be alike; innovation is one of the sacred hallmarks of entrepreneurship that we want to embrace and support. It is to say: let us be intentional about our impact, and set some basic ground rules for what we want to promote as an industry. As Andy Lower, executive director of the Eleos Foundation and Toniic board member often says, “Making money off of ‘poor’ people is traditional investing – and investors are welcome to do that if they want. Investing where you receive increased financial returns in correlation with increased impact – now THAT’s impact investing.” Read more

RSF Seed Fund Open for Applications; Deadline March 15th

We love our Seed Fund, it’s small and mighty like us. The RSF Seed Fund provides grants from $500 – $5,000 to projects that provide innovative solutions to further the field of social finance or address issues in one of our three focus areas. Although the grants are small, they make a large impact on the projects they support by providing essential start-up capital.  March 15th marks the deadline to submit applications for the 2013 Seed Fund. Read more

The photo above is of Community Seafood, a Seed Fund grant recipient. Continue reading for more on supporting sustainable seafood!

Fish 2.0: Seafood Business Competition

The increase in demand for sustainable seafood is creating new markets and opportunities for business growth in fishing and aquaculture, but finding sound investment opportunities can be challenging. On January 29th, a group of investors interested in sustainable seafood launched Fish 2.0, a new business competition designed to increase the number of successful businesses in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

Fish 2.0 – Where Seafood Businesses and Investors Connect brings business owners and investors together to develop new connections and benefit from one another’s expertise. Participants will present their business ideas to interested investors, receive free advisory services from investment experts, and compete for up to $75,ooo in cash prizes. Investors, in turn, will gain insights into opportunities in the field, access to potential investments, and connections for due diligence work. Future business deals stemming from the competition could result in debt and equity financing on the scale of $100,000 to $10 million. Read more

The Future Will Belong to the Nature Smart

By Richard Louv

For all of human history and prehistory, experience in the natural world has helped shape our species, including our brains. Yet, in recent decades, our society has looked everywhere but toward more natural environments for healthier brain development and the enhancement of intelligence and creativity. It’s time to take a fresh look at our own back yards – at nature nearby and far. Read more

Upcoming Events

February 7, Social Venture Network Local Gathering, San Francisco, CA
February 9-10, Social Enterprise Conference, Cambridge, MA
February 13, Inside RSF Social Finance, Webinar
March 9, SoCap Soul, Boston, MA
April 25-28, Social Venture Network Spring Conference, San Diego, CA
April 29-30, Slow Money National Gathering, Boulder, CO
May 19-22, Social Enterprise Alliance National Summit, Minneapolis, MN
Jun 11-14, BALLE Conference, Buffalo, NY