Los Angeles is brimming with social entrepreneurs who seek investors to fund businesses that promise to generate both a healthy return on investment and a positive social impact.
Los Angeles is brimming with investors who seek to make money and to make positive change.
But, they rarely meet.
The social entrepreneurs--often women and people of color--are not well networked with the venture capital community and face much steeper standards for entry than those who benefit from established and insular networks.
Plus, investors are not sufficiently aware of the opportunities these businesses present and even enlightened companies who are investing in social impact businesses in other countries are not aware of compelling opportunities here.
This has to change.
Last week, Advisors in Philanthropy presented an excellent program at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator on "Community Financing--Why LA Needs Impact Investing and Micro Financing to Reach All Communities."
The program was moderated by the powerhouse Tracy Gray, the Founder and Managing Partner of The 22 Capital Group, a social impact, growth venture capital and advisory firm with a job creation mission to increase the export capacity of Southern California manufacturing companies, targeting women- and minority-owned businesses.
- Investors are not aware of the exciting social impact opportunities in L.A.
- Those investors who are aware of these opportunities set a higher barrier of entry for them because they are headed by women or other minorities.
- Foundations, which have funds to support social impact companies as "Program Related Investments" are often reluctant to do so because they are used to the status quo.
Those is attendance--social entrepreneurs, foundation executives, nonprofit representatives, and investors--left the gathering committed to bridging the chasm and unleashing capital to promote social impact and benefit investors. A gathering that will bring together the players is in the works.