Investment Readiness Program model
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What is social innovation and social finance
The complex social, economic, and environmental challenges facing Canada (homelessness, climate change, and youth unemployment, amongst others) demand creativity and transformative solutions. Social innovation refers to new ideas, which, when adopted, improve a community’s wellbeing. Social finance is the practice of making investments intended to create social or environmental impact in addition to financial returns.
To take advantage of resources and opportunities made available by Social innovation and social finance (SI/SF), social purpose organizations (SPOs) need to build their existing skill sets and develop new skills. Using experts to guide them, SPOs may enhance their capacities in impact measurement, early stage innovation, business expertise, legal and organizational structure, governance, and fiscal skills to be ready to access social finance investments.
What are readiness support partners
Readiness support partners (RSPs) have reach across Canada, in every region, rural/remote and urban settings, and have specialized reach, such as Quebec’s social economy, Indigenous communities, and SPOs led by (or which support) women and girls.
RSPs will establish open and transparent processes to make available up to $30 million to SPOs who can apply for funds to purchase the expert services they need to build skills and capacity, and in turn increase their participation in social finance and Canada’s SI/SF ecosystem.
What are expert service providers
Expert services providers (ESPs) are organizations that provide resources, training, mentoring, and other learning opportunities to SPOs to move towards investment readiness. SPOs will be able to seek funding and support from RSPs in order to work with an ESP to determine their specific needs and purchase the expert services that best address them. Equally, they might choose to work with an ESP to help identify their needs before seeking additional services and supports.
SPOs are not obligated to approach IRP funded ESPs; rather, they have the choice to seek support from ESP(s) that meet their service needs.
What are ecosystem mobilization initiatives
Despite the many kinds of resources available to SPOs in Canada, many gaps still exist in the social finance ecosystem. Part of preparing SPOs to be investment-ready involves making available the tools and resources to scale up their operations, increasing their awareness of and access to innovative tools and processes, enhancing their capacity to measure progress meaningfully, and helping them build their long-term sustainability. Over its 2-year timeframe, the Investment Readiness Program will fund projects that will build on existing initiatives to advance research, develop and test possible solutions and/or move solutions from theory to practice, impact measurement, knowledge mobilization, and supporting social finance intermediaries.
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