Local Investment Fund to Champion Social Issues

Local Investment Fund to Champion Social Issues

Social entrepreneurs and innovators getting support from a new model of financing

Having a locally-controlled Community Investment Fund (CIF) for investing in projects that benefit Victoria, while providing a return to individual investors is one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to the BC Ideas competition hosted by Ashoka Changemakers.

Executive director Rupert Downing from the Community Social Planning Council says after speaking with investment advisors for a product that can provide local supports, it became clear they’d have to design it themselves.

“Investment advisors said there’s a huge demand for this type of product,” Rupert says. “But it doesn’t exist — not yet." The Community Social Planning Council is hoping to launch the initial offering in 2013.

 
   

Rupert says municipal governments have to begin to put on the same glasses the non-profit sector is wearing and embrace social innovations and social entrepreneurship to find new ways of doing business.

With a little restructuring, the financing could be readily available, Rupert argues.

“If we could capture just two per cent of the annual RRSP contributions that residents of this region contribute, we’d be raising $8 million a year,” Rupert says. “To achieve that level we’d have a fund and a pool of capital that can really help to develop more units for affordable housing.

“We want to work with local government around tax incentives for private developers to put their capital into affordable rental houses.

A dynamic steering committee and committed group of community members, interested investors and partner organizations are developing the model and are eager to issues its first offering next year.

“We’d operate the investment fund as its own entity and its own engine of creating benefits for the community, but by doing that we’re suggesting there are new models and new ways of doing things to solve some of these issues,” Rupert says.

“It’s best everybody get around the table and see how they can contribute.”

If selected as winners of the BC Ideas competition, Rupert says the $15,000 would go towards creating the legal structure for the investment fund to operate, and develop a business plan to ensure the investment portfolio will be profitable and yield a return for investors.

The BC Ideas competition is calling on British Columbians to help select the three most innovative ideas from the 11 competition finalists by visiting www.bcideas.ca.

The top three vote-getters during the voting period will each receive a “People’s Choice Investment.”

Voting closes Nov. 9 at 5 p.m.

To vote for the Community Investment Fund, click here.

If you have feedback on this article, please contact ryan(at)axiomnews.ca, or comment below.

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