From the CE: Social Enterprise World Forum

October 5, 2017

The Social Enterprise World Forum saw over 1600 people from the world of purpose-driven business and investing gather in Christchurch last week. The philanthropic sector was well represented, and it is clear that our grantmaking is one of the key factors helping social enterprise start-up and scale-up.

Social enterprise offers models of sustainability that complement, and in some cases will replace, traditional charitable approaches. The ability to deliver social and environmental good through enterprises that generate their own resources demands our attention, and the growth and success of this sector requires us to be clear about how best to use our grantmaking and investments in support.

Opportunities to invest in social enterprises and financial products linked to the creation of social and environmental returns offers philanthropy opportunities to go far beyond responsible investing. We now have the chance to bring our investing activities into even closer alignment with the goals we have for communities.

This in turn challenges the assumption that grantmaking and investing are two fundamentally separate activities. This need not be the case as capital meets purpose in what is already a multi-billion-dollar impact investing market globally.

How will we respond to this blurring of business and charity? It may be the best game in town as we struggle with the inherently time-limited nature of grantmaking in a world that demands long term solutions. It will also lead us into new alliances as social enterprise confronts the same challenges we face: measuring impact; creating more inclusive, fairer communities and economic systems; and addressing the causes, as well as the symptoms, of our most urgent social and environmental concerns.

Congratulations to Ākina who brought the World Forum to NZ and did a superb job of running the biggest conference Christchurch has seen since the quakes. It was a landmark event in the growth of social enterprise and impact investing in our country.

The launch of New Zealand’s Impact Investing Network was one of the highlights of the Social Enterprise World Forum. Philanthropy New Zealand chairs the group developing the network, which includes several PNZ members who share a keen interest in exploring the opportunities investing-in-purpose offers philanthropy.

WEL Energy Trust, Trust Waikato, Bay Trust, and the Tindall Foundation are all contributing to the costs of the new Impact Investing Network, and several other PNZ members are considering joining this group of pioneers. We’d be happy to talk with you if you’d like to contribute, and I encourage you to join the Network. It will offer great opportunities to connect, learn, and participate.

– Tony Paine, CE, Philanthropy New Zealand