What do you do with your hard-earned disposable income?
Take the traditional stock market route to grow wealth, or part with your money through a charitable donation? What if you could kill two birds with one stone and make an impact investment in a promising social enterprise or mission-driven business?
According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.
For our society to see real progress on social and environmental issues, we need to make space for creative solutions, new business models and innovative ways of securing funding. The rise of social enterprise and mission-driven organizations creates incredible opportunities for the public, private and nonprofit sectors to work together in ways we have never seen before.
Mission-driven organizations are founded and run by a special breed of entrepreneurs driven to grow successful social businesses contributing to the economy, while at the same time tackling the issues plaguing our globe. More and more companies across the world are allocating funds to social responsibility and philanthropy efforts, and consumers are demanding products and services that come from sustainable practices and sources.
It’s no secret that Austin is home to one of the country’s fastest-growing hot spots for social entrepreneurs and mission-driven businesses. Here, we’re seeing business executives, venture capitalists, legislators, community leaders, university students, and the average Joe raise their hands and actively support social enterprise. Even our Mayor, Steve Adler, is leading exciting initiatives to incentivize and spark innovative approaches that solve critical local issues like transportation, affordable housing, homelessness and more.
The beauty of the thriving Austin social enterprise network lies in its collaborative spirit. We regularly witness collaboration instead of competition and support in place of envy. Within the social entrepreneurship circle, there is a shared belief that when you lend a hand by making an introduction to a potential investor/client or calling in a favor, everyone wins because our ultimate goal is to improve the planet.
We believe in fortifying our local mission-driven businesses with the communication and media strategies, tools and resources they need to get their message out for maximum social and environmental impact.
Our hope is that by supporting Austin area mission-driven businesses and change-makers, we can help our local community create impact and set an example for rallying other major metro areas to change the way they approach urgent issues.
The proverbial divide between mission and money is blurring before our eyes with the rising trend of breaking down silos between industries, sectors and layers of society in pursuit of social and environmental change. Gone are the days of making mutually exclusive decisions about where our philanthropic and investment money goes.
By: Ashley Conway