Social investment needs investees, not just investors
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
As the social investment community basked in G8 attention and the London sunshine, observers could be forgiven for thinking that social investment alone would save the world. “We’ve got a great idea here that can transform our societies, by using the power of finance to tackle the most difficult social problems”, said David Cameron. International development secretary Justine Greening talked about how vital social impact investment is for economic development in developing countries. Wise words indeed, and all true.
However, any investment deal needs an investee as well as an investor. All this attention on social investment, while welcome, risks overlooking the need to build a pipeline of social ventures that can absorb it and use it to deliver real social impact and the need to develop market conditions for success – often a valuable role played by venture philanthropy.