As IC gratefully accepts a significant legacy gift from The Hitachi Foundation, my thoughts have been focused on the importance of this opportunity, not just for Investors’ Circle to be better resourced in our work, but to continue to push the boundaries of our impact. As social entrepreneurship and impact investing gain mainstream acceptance, we must devote more time to ensuring that this approach is creating inclusive, broad-based economic opportunity.
The tone, rhetoric and outcome of the election season underscore the challenges created by increasing wealth disparity and withering economic opportunity that many are experiencing, despite an “official” economic recovery. All of IC’s mission-focused goals – from environmental protection to improved health, education, and community for all – are threatened by a public sector response driven by insecurity. These societal challenges require systemic change, not just good business; however, it is clear that an economy that creates broad opportunity is an important underpinning of comprehensive systemic change.
Throughout this year, there has been a focus on increasing inclusivity in the impact investing field to ensure that both women and racial and ethnic minorities have equal access to capital and business growth resources. IC has been a leader in engaging women, and we have begun discussions on how we can best increase our engagement of other underrepresented populations both as investors in our network and entrepreneurs receiving investment. Geographic and socioeconomic diversity must also be incorporated into these efforts.
Thus, the The Hitachi Foundation’s mission legacy is more important than ever. Good job creation should be an inherent consideration in early-stage impact investing and entrepreneurship. Whether it’s a company specifically creating employment opportunities for the underserved or a tech solution with limited employment needs, all impact enterprises should be considering how their human capital strategy and culture enhance their companies’ - and their communities’ – success. We look forward to equipping our investors and the entrepreneurs who engage with our network with these needed tools.
Are you interested in this work? Does furthering IC’s minority-engagement efforts with both investors and entrepreneurs pique your interest? Or supporting entrepreneurship-based economic development in under-represented regions from struggling inner cities to rural Appalachia? If you’d like to participate in a working group to inform and drive these efforts, let IC know here.