Echoing Green’s Impact Investing program stems from our long history of selecting, seeding, and investing in social entrepreneurs.
In the past decade we’ve helped seed the growing momentum around for-profit and hybrid business models: in 2006, only 15 percent of our Fellowship applications had elements of for-profit business models; in 2015, they had increased to 50 percent.
This white paper describes our impact investing inflection cohort pilot to shed light on how and if the model succeeded in enabling the early-stage social entrepreneurs to grow, attract investment, and deliver impact.
Find more of our publications on Impact Investing and other topics on our new Publications page. »
This template is designed to be used for investment into an early-stage social enterprise by institutions and individuals who are principally concerned with assisting the social or environmental mission of the company and not with earning a speculative financial return on their investment. The SeedIIT was prepared at the direction of Echoing Green with input from our Fellows. Download »
“Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate.”
—GLOBAL IMPACT INVESTING NETWORK
Our Social Impact Investment Model
We mobilize our network of search partners to attract over 3,000 Fellowship applicants per year. Each application is vetted by staff, sector and regional experts, investors, and established Fellows from previous years. Using our Fellow selection criteria, which prioritize applicants with transformative social impact potential, we choose less than 2 percent to become Echoing Green Fellows. We select for a social entrepreneur's leadership ability and dedication to the issues being addressed, combined with business model feasibility.
While nonprofit organizations are awarded grants as their Fellowship stipend, since 2011 we have provided for-profit companies with recoverable grants. Recoverable grants are designed to be risk tolerant and inexpensive capital aimed at investing in future generations of social entrepreneurs through their success. As Fellows' businesses achieve certain financial thresholds, it triggers payback. Echoing Green then recycles that money to fund future Fellows. If the business does not hit the thresholds, then they do not pay us back. Read our FAQ on our current recoverable grants.
Communicating the Need
Echoing Green is one of the few seed funders of for-profit social enterprises. Through site visits to regional social impact investing hubs, global conferences, and industry events, we are spreading urgency around this lack of appropriate capital, and are encouraging others to join us and also provide follow-on investment.
Contributing Data & Knowledge
We're sharing what we've learned from our track record of finding, selecting, and funding social entrepreneurs. By elevating the entrepreneurial perspective on raising start-up impact investment, trends in for-profit applications, and innovative models of seed-stage investment, we hope to inform and increase the flow of early stage impact capital and investment-readiness support.
Connecting with Stakeholders
The impact investment market is fragmented, so we’re connecting with impact investors around the world. We invite investors into the Echoing Green community to learn about and collaborate on emerging investment opportunities, challenges, and trends.