Social entrepreneurs and impact investors alike should be sure to know about these organizations in New York and beyond.
NEW YORK NETWORKS
Centre for Social Innovation (CSI): Begun in Toronto, Canada in 2003, the Centre’s first New York location opened in 2013 and has since become a hub for social entrepreneurs in the city. The Chelsea center has a co-working space, holds workshops and panels on topics relevant to social entrepreneurs, and has partnerships with New York foundations and institutions to help members grow.
Be Social Change (BSC): With over 4,000 members, BSC originally started as a meetup group and is now the largest community for social entrepreneurs in New York City. They host events including fireside chats with influential social entrepreneurs and professionals, networking happy hours, and classes on a range of useful topics for entrepreneurs in general. They help social entrepreneurs build their careers through workshops and an online job listings board.
Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN): The GIIN is a multi-faceted nonprofit organization that works to make impact investing more visible, widespread and effective. A project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the GIIN has various initiatives to promote their mission, including The GIIN Investor’s Council, and ImpactBase, an online database of impact investment funds and products. They also research and publish reports on impact investing and offer extensive information and resources on impact investing and social entrepreneurship on their website.
SOCIAL IMPACT INVESTORS AND FUNDS IN NEW YORK
Echoing Green: Echoing Green runs three fellowship programs which offer seed funding to support emerging leaders set to bring about positive social change. They provide “recoverable grants to global fellows with for-profit business models in order to recycle investment capital from their ventures to support future generations of social entrepreneurs.”
Acumen: Acumen is a non-profit that raises charitable donations to invest in social entrepreneurs and companies focused on “changing the way the world tackles poverty.” In addition the charity provides several different fellowship programs in leadership training.
CDVCA: The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance is a network for impact investment funds, specifically in the community development field.
Mission Markets: Is a financial technology firm using their online marketplace and community network to make it easier for investors to learn about, discuss and make investments that improve society and protect the environment.
SJF Ventures: In addition to other investments, this venture fund specifically looks to partner with entrepreneurs who are committed to positively impacting the world through the businesses that they are creating.
City Light Capital: The venture firm is focused creating a better world by investing in mission-based entrepreneurs to enable them to “enact social change at the speed of business.”
SOCIAL IMPACT INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS IN NYC
Blue Ridge Labs: This Brooklyn-based incubator offers fellowships, grants, and workshops for social innovators with a specific focus on solving challenges faced by low-income individuals. Each year, Blue Ridge Labs offers an intensive summer fellowship program over a 12 week period. Each program tackles a different set of specific focus issues.
Impact Hub: In addition to co-working and event space Impact Hub offers a variety of free events and networking for entrepreneurs who are working to drive positive social and environmental change.
Beespace: Specifically focused on non-profit social ventures, Beespace offers shared office space, networking, workshops and events, and support to help launch the next generation of innovation nonprofits.
Points of Light Civic Accelerator: This 12-week program is dedicated to ventures which are equipping and mobilizing people to create positive change. The program offers training in topics such as pitching, fundraising, staffing, and mobilizing individuals.
IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS OUTSIDE NYC
The United Nations Foundation: The UN Foundation’s Global Accelerator program works through the global UN agency system to accelerate and scale entrepreneurs and businesses around the world who are tackling global development challenges. The foundation is always looking for innovative solutions to global challenges—social enterprises can pitch their idea to the foundation any time via the foundation’s website.
Ashoka: Originally founded in 1980, Ashoka has been around since before the term social entrepreneurship came into use. Today, the organization supports 3,000 fellows in 70 countries with funding, connections, and other business needs. Ashoka has a strong focus on building community and bringing social entrepreneurs together to make the most of their skills and create an “Everyone is a Changemaker World.”
The Skoll Foundation: As one of the largest foundations in the world supporting social entrepreneurs, the Skoll Foundation invests in startups with $25 million portfolio of program-related investments (PRIs). Each year in Oxford, England, they host the Skoll World Forum, the largest conference for social entrepreneurs in the world with more than 1,000 distinguished participants.
The Social Enterprise Alliance: This US organization based in Minnesota works to build up social enterprise communities by advocating supportive public policy and enabling social entrepreneurs with knowledge, networking, and partnership-building. The SEA hosts a yearly Social Enterprise Summit which takes place over three days and brings between 500 and 700 attendees to hear from dozens of experts in the space. The SEA has chapters across the US including two in New York.