RADIUS, the Beedie School of Business’ social venture lab and incubator, has partnered with the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing on a new national investment fund for ventures committed to tackling social and environmental challenges.
As the Western Canada representative for the fund, RADIUS will be responsible for driving deal flow and building investment readiness within the impact venture community in the region.
The new initiative – which will also see the national deployment of Virgin Unite’s online mentorship platform, and capacity support for incubator programs in Canada – was announced by Sir Richard Branson on December 12 at the MaRS Centre.
Virgin Unite Canada and the Mindset Social Innovation Foundation have provided one million dollars in seed capital to the fund.
An additional $500,000 has been committed through other investment, with a total of five million dollars expected to be raised through 2015.
The fund will be managed by the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, and will invest in early-stage for-profit companies with a core social and/or environmental mission, measurable positive impact and the potential for strong financial returns.
“RADIUS is thrilled to include this fund in the suite of services that we offer impact focused ventures in Western Canada,” said Donovan Woollard, Director of RADIUS Ventures.
“We work directly with dozens of early stage ventures committed to re-shaping the world, many of whom are looking for capital to support their growth, and this national fund is a much-needed new source.”
Other regional partners of the fund include MaRS’ Impact8 in Toronto and Esplanade in Montreal.
“The creation of this new venture fund will make a big difference to Canada’s many high-impact ventures,” said Tim Jackson, EVP, Corporate and Community Development, MaRS.
“Virgin Unite, the Mindset Foundation, and the other fund investors are showing tremendous leadership in driving business as a force for good.”
The fund partners also announced the Canadian implementation of Virgin Unite’s online entrepreneurship platform.
The platform will help the partners expand their venture services by connecting more entrepreneurs across the country to talented mentors with the skills, advice and networks entrepreneurs need to thrive and scale their business.