The Covid-19 pandemic presents unrivalled challenges. Healthcare systems urgently need to boost their capacity to treat patients, and societies need to strengthen efforts to safeguard the most vulnerable communities. Economic systems should find ways to protect workers, and avoid the collapse of financial markets. And almost overnight, huge swaths of the population have found themselves confined at home, a drastic change that none of us expected to come quite so soon. Today, Covid-19 has reminded us in no uncertain terms that we are all responsible for and connected to each other.
The problem is here and now. We urgently need solutions that are accessible to everyone. But to bring these ideas to fruition, they need the right type of funding.
The European Commission shares this thinking, which is why last month they launched a call to fund start-ups and SMEs with innovative solutions to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.
We urgently need solutions that are accessible to everyone. But to bring these ideas to fruition, they need the right type of funding
At EVPA, we know that a huge source of both financial and non-financial support in this kind of situation is the community of investors for impact.
Such investors – as stated in the Charter of Investors for Impact, developed by EVPA and now signed by more than 300 individuals – are problem-focused and solutions-oriented, innovating ways to tackle societal challenges. Investors for impact are dedicated to mitigating or even fully eliminating problems, looking for solutions that address the root causes. They are eager to help transform the way in which society’s toughest problems are tackled.
While many investors will claim their work has a positive impact, we believe the narrower community of investors for impact set themselves apart from the crowd.
As Luciano Balbo, founder and president of the first Italian impact investing fund Oltre Venture, and one of the founders of EVPA, rightly points out: investing that is adding nothing new cannot be considered impact investing. As EVPA, we too prefer to shift the discussion from good intentions to additionality. Investors for impact put the social business models of the organisations they support at the centre of their strategies, and take risks that others are not prepared to take. This makes these practitioners perfectly placed to focus on new and innovative solutions to the current crisis (and future ones).
Investors for impact are perfectly placed to focus on new and innovative solutions to the current crisis (and future ones)
With social challenges multiplying – yet too few solutions operating at a large scale, and systemic change often far out of reach – the impact ecosystem craves highly-engaged investors.