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Resources for Impact Ventures

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

social entrepreneur

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America.

This is a blog post in the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”:  Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2. Part 1 can be found here.

Courses for Career Changers:

Escape The City: a collection of courses to help people changing careers.

TechChange: online professional development courses and events in technology and social change.

On Purpose: Associate and Pathfinder helping people transition into careers, but more profoundly lives, with more meaning and purpose.

Courses for Impactpreneurs:

edX: Enabling Entrepreneurs to Shape a Better World; Responsible Innovation: Building Tomorrow’s Responsible Firms; Responsible Innovation: Ethics, Safety and Technology; Data Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation; Innovation: From Plan to Product; Capstone Economics and Policies for a Circular Economy; Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, and more.

Coursera: Becoming a changemaker: Introduction to Social Innovation; Social Impact Strategy: Tools for Entrepreneurs and Innovators; Business Strategies for Social Impact, and more.

EVPA: online courses on social impact.

Springboard: Social Entrepreneurship online course.

Good Hustle: online programs to help creating enterprises for impact.

The Good Business Roadmap: an 11-week start up course for first-time, purpose-led entrepreneurs, guiding you through the journey of turning a business idea into a sustainable venture.

IIX Institute: a diverse selection of courses and programs related to sustainable finance, business, and leadership.

New Ventures Academy: online courses on impact entrepreneurship in Spanish.

Social Sector Network: Social Sector Network Academy, courses to empower innovative leaders around the world.

BonBillo: a social entrepreneurship platform with lecture videos, quizzes, milestone deliverables, group webinars and discussion forums to launch your social impact startup.

Earth Ambition: courses for entrepreneurs and freelancers working to make this world a better place.

Social Enterprise Academy: Global Learning Lab, supporting the development of the social enterprise movement by strengthening practitioner-led, peer learning.

Social Impact Hub: a FREE workshop series as part of the RISE program.

Social UP Project: Design Thinking Field Guide for social enterprises.

Fitzroy Academy: ‘’Design for Impact and Scale’’ course.

Acumen Academy: courses and masterclasses for social enterprises.

In Place Impact: certification program in impact economics

INCO Academy: programs are designed for the new and diverse talents who want to be at the forefront of innovation (course for impact entrepreneurs, ‘’get into green’’).

SoGal Foundation: SoGal Academy with a mission to close the global diversity gap in entrepreneurship and investing.

Hatch Enterprise: online courses for diverse and impact entrepreneurs.

Specialized courses and programs:

Supply Chain School: a completely free Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Sociedade Ponto Verde: digital open innovation program, focused on circular economy and digital disruption of packaging waste.

Global and regional fellowships can be found here.

If you opt for individual guidance, you are just one step away.

Here are other blog posts from the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”:

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1: Learn and Grow

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 2: Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Stay tuned and follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

Categories
Resources for Impact Ventures

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

social entrepreneur

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America.

There are many online platforms with resources for impact startups and you can therefore compile different (often free) materials and courses in order to build your own curriculum. If you prefer to move forward on your own, here is the first part in the series ‘’Be Your Own Mentor’’. Part 2 can be found here.

Tools and Templates:

Social Lean Canvas: an online tool with social lean canvas templates.

Canvanizer: a web tool with easy to share canvas templates.

Business Makeover platform: a platform with business model tools.

Strategyzer: canvases templates and other tools.

LEANSTACK: lean canvas tool and more. 

37 Angels: tools.

Online platforms:

Y Combinator: startup library.

Social Ventures Australia: a business planning guide for social enterprises.

UnLtd: a suite of training guides to support.

MovingWorlds: Social Entrepreneur Guide

Cartier Women’s Initiative: courses, videos, and articles.

Envolve Entrepreneurship: resources to grow business or work on a new business idea.

Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs: learning resources for social enterprises.

REDFworkshop: free resources for employment social enterprises.

Yunus&Youth: resources for social entrepreneurs.

Triple Crown Leadership: social entrepreneurship resources.

VillageCapital: PlayBook on Team Building.

Kauffman Entrepreneurs: learning materials (Develop Ideas, Get Started).

Pioneer Post: collections of resources.

Sopact: Social Impact Resources.

Buy Social Scotland: Bootcamp Resources – Practical Marketing Tips for Social Enterprises.

Hatch Enterprise: a helpful list of resources to help you and your business get through these challenging times.

Reach for Change: Tools to support your journey as a social entrepreneur (courses and templates).

Social Innovation Community: Learning Repository (innovation tools and resources).

Swedish Institute: toolbox for the social business.

RoundPeg Benefit: resources for impact ventures

100+ startups offering free products and services

Have you ever wondered, why professional athletes have coaches? Right, this allows them to progress faster, and if you opt for individual guidance, you are just one step away.

Here are other blog posts from the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”:

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1: Learn and Grow

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 2: Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

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1-Year Challenge. Monthly Updates

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #2. Part 1: Impact Job Seeker Dilemma

Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America.

This  is the third monthly update within my 1-year challenge.

I launched a Linkedin group to share remote impact job opportunities (Remote Impact Jobs) a few months ago while searching for a meaningful job opportunity myself. Following a marathon of 50+ interviews and exploratory calls last year I got into, what I call, an ‘’impact job seeker dilemma’’. Paraphrasing Phil Knight – ’’The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product’’, – I failed to sell different companies/job offers to myself. Life was pushing me in another direction, and that’s how I came up with my 1-year challenge and decided to focus on my very own project LeanVentures this year.

It is starting to take more and more time to monitor and share job offers in the Linkedin group though. And then it is definitely not the easiest way to proceed: 

  • thousands of job offers are published daily (even on weekends);
  • pretty much anything is called an impact job and it is hard to avoid irrelevant employers/job offers;
  • key details are missing in most of the jobs offers (exact remote location (region/country/time zone), deadlines, days the offers were posted, etc.);
  • some of the offers are getting reposted and I therefore happen to share some of the opportunities several times;
  • the number of posts is limited, they get lost in the group thread, and there is no way to sort them by categories (sustainability, social impact, ESG, environment..).

And the list goes on.

All in all, although the Remote Impact Jobs Linkedin group serves its purpose, it does not seem to be the most efficient way to help impact job seekers. So, the idea is to make it easier for anyone looking for a remote impact job to monitor the relevant job offers. Let’s see how the group can be turned into a job platform over the next few weeks. There is no single solution to solve all the problems. I will therefore choose a niche. There are already too many job listings after all.

Are you looking for a remote job with a purpose – feel free to join the Remote Impact Jobs Linkedin group (200+ remote (mostly global and EU/US-based) impact job opportunities weekly) to be the first to know about the platform launch.

Here is also my collection of resources for your (remote) impact job search. Global and regional fellowship opportunities can be found here.

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

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1-Year Challenge. Monthly Updates

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 2: Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs

Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora

impact entrepreneurs

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America

This is the second monthly update within my 1-year challenge.

My vanity and actionable metrics keep showing interest in the funding opportunities and it is a follow-up to the first monthly update.

While there are many duplicating efforts in setting impact investing platforms that connect impact investors with impact founders/ventures, it is not a solution to the problem impact founders have. There is no lack of information on the funds and individual impact investors (you can check the opportunities provided by the platforms listed in the first monthly update or order the Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures with updated information and working links), and still only up to 2% of the business ideas submitted to potential investors actually get funding.

Although there are various reasons for this, I suggest focusing on what can be done by you:

  • Have a team/co-founder(s), as investors tend to choose teams over solopreneurs.
  • Investors provide financial support when there are metrics showing clients and growth (or at least validated ideas). Validate your impact business idea first.
  • Work not only on the idea but also the way you present it. By making your pitch deck succinct and easy to understand you increase your prospects for getting funded. And ”easy to understand” doesn’t mean ”oversimplified”. It does mean providing essential details for investors to make a decision.
  • Do not overlook angels/individual funders – there are higher chances they back the very early-stage startups.
  • Start with sector-specific funds (experts in your specific field). You will not only speak the same language. Expert support will be offered.
  • Train before you pitch your impact business idea.
  • And most importantly, if you keep receiving ‘no’, learn from this feedback and measure what matters (instead of giving up). On a positive note, the research shows that bootstrapped projects have more financially sustainable business models.

Other common mistakes founders make are listed in one of my latest blog posts (do’s and don’ts).

All in all, prior to searching for external investment, you need to invest in yourself and your impact business idea. Be your first investor (both time and funding-wise).

External funding is optional, external expertise is essential.  As paradoxical as it may seem, sometimes you need to slow down to get results faster. And here are dozens of growth opportunities for your impact venture: online programs, fellowships, challenges, pitch competitions, bootcamps, incubators, accelerators. These are mostly global opportunities unless otherwise specified in the below table. The updated version can be found here.

If you still decide to opt for a quicker solution, individual guidance is the best option, and you are just one step away.

You can find more learning and funding resources for your impact venture in the following blog posts:

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1: Learn and Grow

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

Categories
1-Year Challenge. Monthly Updates

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora

impact investing

This is the first monthly update within my 1-year challenge.

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America

As my vanity and actionable metrics show (two most popular blog posts: Learning and Funding opportunities for women impactpreneurs) a high interest in funding opportunities and funding advisory services, it feels natural to start with impact founders&funders dilemma.

actionable metrics

The following organizations set ambitious objectives to ‘’connect sustainable entrepreneurs with impact investors’’, ‘’bring connections between investors and companies to life’’, and be ‘’a marketplace for emerging companies‘’:

Imfino: a global online platform that aims to connect impact investors with impact investment opportunities (entrepreneurs) meeting their investment requirements. (things to note: no investors&ventures listed)

Impact Investing Network Map: Network Map, demonstrating the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within Impact Investing. (things to note: no investors&ventures listed)

KapVista: impact startups&funds listings (things to note: 4 funds&32 ventures listed)

It’s not evident what exactly is being beta-tested as there are no investors and startups listed on two out of three platforms and only four funds and 32 ventures listed on KapVista’s website.

Let’s now have a look at the fully operational online platforms and tools connecting impact investors with impact ventures:

ImpactSpace: an open data platform powering the global impact marketplace. (things to note: outdated information, some links do not work)

Impact Investor Landscape: mapping the ecosystem for collaboration, transparency, and the impact. (things to note: misleading information on the sectors for some of the investors, some of the listed organisations are not impact investors, some links do not work)

Impact Finance: a review of 150 impact investing platforms, networks, and organizations that promote, support, or convene investors in the impact finance area. (things to note: some of the listed organisations are not impact investors, outdated information, some links do not work)

Global Innovation Exchange: a list of foundations and funding initiatives providing funding for social entrepreneurs. (things to note: most of the listed organizations only provide funding to nonprofits or international development projects, outdated information on some of the organizations, oil&gaz companies are on the list)

Social Sector Network: knowledge repository (things to note: 28 impact investors listed, some links do not work).

Abaca: helping more impact-driven founders connect with investors and other supporters who can help them scale. (things to note: no investors or entrepreneurs listed on the website)

Zebras Unite: a community of entrepreneurs, investors, and allies dedicated to building companies that balance both profit and purpose. (things to note: no investors and companies listed on the website)

Founders for Change: Diverse Investors List, a resource for founders and the tech community to more easily find VC investors from diverse backgrounds. (things to note: some links do not work as Crunchbase has outdated information on many funders)

Refugee Investment Network: connecting investors and refugee ventures for an inclusive future. (things to note: not a user-friendly tool, no investors listed, ventures listed on the platform)

Women Effect: Women Effect Landscape Map. (things to note: outdated information, some of the listed organisations are not impact investors, some links do not work)

Global Health Impact Fund: a Strategic Venture Capital Investment Network connecting clinician and healthcare professional investors with early-stage healthcare technology companies. (things to note: no investors listed)

Future Planet Capital: a co-investment platform giving the world’s largest investors scale-efficient access to technology and life science firms; the focus areas include health, climate change, education, sustainable growth & security. (things to note: no investors listed, the portfolio is available on the website)

Investor Flow: an online tool for impact investors to share their deals. (things to note: sign-up is only available for investors)

GREENBACKERS: a by-invitation program offering to selected entrepreneurs exposure to active, pre-qualified investors with a proven interest in climate, cleantech, and the circular economy. (things to note: the sign-up link for entrepreneurs doesn’t seem to work; the next pitch date is May 19th, 2021)

Pitch@Palace: connecting entrepreneurs with potential supporters; the sectors include agriculture&food technology, health&medical technology. (things to note: last pitch events date back to late 2019)

Regional platforms:

LSP VC: connecting investors to inventors in the healthcare sector in the EU and US.

Europe’s Impact Investing Database: a country-based database; the categories include accelerators, business angels, deal platforms, ethical banks, foundations, etc. (things to note: not a user-friendly tool with outdated information on some of the accelerators and funds)

WEAR Sustain: an online platform for the Europe-wide wearable technology, smart and electronic textiles network, for collaborations and innovations between artists, designers, technologists, and engineers working on ethical and sustainable solutions and technologies for a better future. (things to note: most of the listed investors do not seem to invest in impact ventures, some of the listed organizations are not investors or accelerators, outdated information on some of the listed organizations)

+impact: a digital platform connecting startups with investors propelling positive impact in the Nordics. (things to note: most of the investors do not seem to be impact investors and the information on some of them is outdated, some links do not work)

The Vinetta Project: A Capital Platform for top female founders across North America. (things to note: only a few startups and no investors listed on the platform)

Invest In Change: connecting Angel Investors with US- and UK-based companies that can do good whilst making money. (things to note: startups along with the resources for investors and entrepreneurs are listed on the website, some links do not work (resources section)).

RENEW: an impact investment firm that manages and serves the Impact Angel Network, a global network of investors that seeks to realize both social impact and financial returns on their investments in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. (things to note: sign-up is only available for investors, the portfolio is available on the website)

Other platforms/tools for impact funders and founders:

F6S: a free network where founders get deals, apply for funding (Accelerators, Funds, Angels) & Investors find startups. (things to note: there is no possibility to sort results by sector, only 74 funds listed)

Crunchbase: a list of impact investing companies. (things to note: there is no possibility to check investors by sector or type of organization (advisers, management firms, etc.), some links do not work, oil&gaz companies are on the list)

Flipidea: a Data-as-a-Service platform offering analytical information about business failures (things to note: the website doesn’t always work properly, no search by category, categories are not mentioned for most of the funders, the websites of some of the VCs and accelerators do not work)

SIGNAL: an online tool for founders to find the right investors; the focus sectors include education, energy, agtech, health, biotech, cleantech, impact. (things to note: the websites of some of the VCs do not work, misleading information on the sectors for some of the listed investors)

Global Invest Her: a global platform for women entrepreneurs and investors. (things to note: no companies and investors listed)

GAN: a community of accelerators, partners, and investors, helping startups build businesses & make a meaningful impact, wherever they call home. (things to note: no investors listed)

Hamster Connect: a global social networking platform that helps start-ups and founders to match, connect and communicate with investors, incubators, and service providers. (things to note: only startups are listed on the website)

VC4A: an ecosystem builder that leverages its infrastructure, network, and expertise for the programs that contribute to Africa’s startup movement. (things to note: upcoming deadlines for accelerators in Africa listed on the platform)

Two main problems I hear about from the clients (impact entrepreneurs) are as follows:

  • no time for approaching funds/impact investors
  • the approached funders/impact investors do not provide any feedback

Interestingly, online impact investing platforms/tools do not seem to be a solution for any of these problems. I provided sector-based lists of impact investing opportunities to all the clients while beta-testing LeanVentures and every single one of them still opted for funding advisory services/individual guidance.

Jacob Nielsen says that ‘’The best results come from testing no more than 5 users’’. So, the next step is to find out what is/are the problem(s) of other impactpreneurs seeking outside funding. In other words, prior to ̶l̶a̶u̶n̶c̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶o̶n̶l̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶i̶m̶p̶a̶c̶t̶ ̶i̶n̶v̶e̶s̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶t̶f̶o̶r̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶u̶p̶ ̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶y̶e̶t̶ ̶a̶n̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶t̶i̶c̶ ̶d̶a̶t̶a̶b̶a̶s̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶d̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶f̶o̶r̶m̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ proposing any solution (see tip #2 from my list of do’s and don’ts), let’s talk to potential clients first (see tip #6 from my list of do’s and don’ts).

The good news is that you can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures (social impact, sustainability, inclusion, health, agriculture, education, circular economy, energy, climate change..).

The Part 2 can be found here.

More learning and funding resources for impact ventures can be found in the following blog posts:

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1: Learn and Grow

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

Categories
Resources for Impact Ventures

Funding Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs I Wouldn’t Advise to Consider

If an investment negatively impacts the environment and society, it is not an investment

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America

This is most probably the most controversial blog post in the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”.

While more small and big companies incorporate sustainable practices, some of them do not seem to match environmental and social claims with measurable results. Although greenwashing is not a recent trend, it’s sad to see that it’s still used to mislead stakeholders and customers.

Researchers affirm that ‘’greenwashing could be better prevented with a combination of voluntary and mandatory aspects designed to promote CSR and regulate its application and communication’’. Let’s have our say.

The below opportunities for impact entrepreneurs are the only ones you will not find in the entire collection of Resources for impact ventures.

The Startupper of the year by Total Challenge: supporting good ideas and projects that help address a widespread problem affecting communities in different countries.

Shell Foundation: supporting pioneering social enterprises and institutions that serve low-income communities across Africa and Asia lacking access to affordable energy and transport services.

GE Ventures: identifying, scaling, and accelerating ideas that will make the world work better; focus areas include energy and healthcare.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC: backing opportunities solving critical healthcare needs.

Future Energy Fund by Chevron: investing in breakthrough technologies that enable the ongoing energy transition to a greater diversity of sources.

Energy Innovation Capital: investing in energy technologies and solutions.

Syngenta Ventures: investing in companies producing more crops with fewer resources.

BP “low carbon transition” Fund: funding new emissions reductions projects.

Exxon Mobil Foundation: Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative, a global effort that helps women fulfill their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities.

Denham Capital: financing companies and projects that are developed in a manner consistent with climate change, biodiversity, and human rights, are socially responsible and reflect sound environmental management practices.

AbbVie Ventures: investing in early-stage opportunities in immunology, oncology, and neuroscience.

Lilly Ventures: investing in great companies with compelling life science innovations that have the potential to create a pipeline of life-changing medicines.

Facebook for Business: Small Business Grants Program for Black-Owned Businesses.

Are any global/regional ‘’green sheen’’ opportunities missing? Please share the links in the comments below.

Learning and funding resources for impact ventures can be found in the following blog posts:

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1: Learn and Grow

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 2: Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily digests for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

Categories
Resources for Impact Ventures

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

Investing in women means investing in the people who invest in everyone else (c)

women impact entrepreneurs discussing funding opportunities

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America

This is the second blog post in the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”: Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part2.

Part 1 (Learning Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs) can be found here. You might also want to check the details on the entire collection of Resources for impact ventures.   

Lack of funding opportunities and restricted access to existing funds are among the main challenges that women have as impact entrepreneurs.

As the below chart (Early-stage funding scheme among companies surveyed, The European Study ‘’Women-led social enterprises’’) shows, early-stage female-led social enterprises mostly rely on personal investment.

chart on funding for women social entrepreneurs

Interestingly, according to The European Study ‘’Women-led social enterprises’’, the companies which used their own generated revenues to fund their development tend to have a more financially sustainable business model.

The PitchBook‘s All In reports state, that only 1-2% of global venture capital has been invested in women-led initiatives over the past few years globally. Although in accordance with BCG analysis (performed in partnership with MassChallenge) startups founded and co-founded by women have fewer chances to be funded (mainly because of lack of credibility), their financial performance rates are higher (MassChallenge; BCG analysis (of the 350 companies included in the analysis, 258 were founded by men, and 92 were founded or co-founded by women).

chart on funding and performance of startups founded by women

Other sources of funding for women changemakers include crowdfunding platforms, business grants, guarantees&loans, impact investing options. These funding solutions not only provide female impact entrepreneurs with financial resources but also encourage other women to start building their innovative startups.

All in all, there are higher chances for women impact entrepreneurs to get funding, if a certain fund/foundation has a strong record of investing in women. You will find below an overview of financial opportunities that primarily or exclusively target female-led teams and women business owners.

Crowdfunding:

IFundWomen: a crowdfunding platform for female founders and creators.

Women You Should Fund: rewards-based crowdfunding helping women and women-led teams make their innovative products, projects, and business ventures a reality.

Awards & Business grants:

Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award: Awards to celebrate exceptional women entrepreneurs.

Visa Everywhere Initiative: Women’s Global Edition, a competition for women founders and co-founders who are changing the world by solving business and social challenges.

Eileen-Fisher Foundation: Women-Owned Business Grant, awarding $200,000 annually in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 for programs increasing women’s participation in decision-making; training women and girls in climate change adaptation, mitigation, and advocacy; engaging women in the sustainable economy.

Women Working Wonders Fund: awarding grants to programs and projects that assist women in transition, provide leadership development in girls and women, and/or contribute to the beautification of the environment.

Cartier Women’s Initiative: regional awards and Science & Technology Pioneer Award for women entrepreneurs.

SoGal Foundation: Black Founder Startup Grant.

Women Who Tech: Covid-19 Tech Grant and Startup Tech Grant for women-Led startups.

AnitaB.org: several grants and awards for women in computing.

AABRS: Small business grants for UK- and US-based small businesses owned by women.

SoGal Foundation: providing several $10K and $5K cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs.

Girlboss Foundation: awarding grants to the next generation of women business owners in the design, music, fashion, music, and art fields in the US.

Amber Grant Foundation: Amber Grant for women entrepreneurs in the US and Canada.

Guarantees and Loans:

MCE Social Capital: providing a loan guarantee model to generate economic opportunities for women and families in underserved communities throughout the developing world.

SheEO: bringing together women from all different backgrounds and ages, who contribute to a Perpetual Fund that is loaned out at zero percent interest to women-led ventures working on the World’s To-Do List.

Grameen Foundation: granting loans or guarantees to companies with social impact (serving primarily women and rural populations) in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Women’s Venture Fund: women’s business loans in NYC, Long Island, and many areas in New Jersey.

Tory Burch Foundation: providing women entrepreneurs in the United States the opportunity to access affordable loans through Community Lenders.

Impact Investing:

Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund: aiming to support women entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Angel Academe: an angel network securing investment for innovative solutions to important global problems in areas including health, finance, education, security and climate change with a female founder/co-founder based in UK.

We-Fi: funding women-owned SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, and Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Solar Sister: investing in women’s clean energy businesses in off-grid communities in Africa.

Impact Investment Funds:

Women’s World Banking Capital Partners: investing in financial solutions in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities.

A-Force Ventures: an early-stage fund that invests in female-led consumer internet and mobile startups. 

Rhia Ventures: a women-led social investment company financially supporting female entrepreneurs in reproductive health.

Astia Fund: investing in early-stage companies with women leaders.

Amplifyher: investing in visionary founders with women in decision-making roles.

University Impact: funding ventures and businesses that are solving complex, vexing social problems (no poverty, zero hunger, good health & well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water & sanitation) with strong management teams, passion for change, and innovative business models.

Rivet Ventures: investing in US-based companies in women-led markets where female usage, decision-making, and purchasing are crucial to company growth.

Plum Alley: investing in forward leaning technology and healthcare companies with women founders or women and men founders that will improve our lives and the planet.

Copper Wire Ventures: providing capital to US-based women-led tech companies.

Intel Capital: investing in technology companies led by women and underrepresented populations, which include Black, Latinx, and Native Americans.

Rethink Impact: investing in US-based female leaders using technology to solve the world’s biggest problems in health, environmental sustainability, education, and economic empowerment.

X Factor: investing in US-basedcompanies with a female founder who have the insight and drive to build the next billion-dollar company.

MergeLane: investing exclusively in US-based companies with at least one woman in leadership.

WomensVCFund II: making investments in early stage (A/B), revenue-generating, high-growth companies led by management teams inclusive of women in Pacific Northwest and California.

Chloe Capital: investing in US-based women-led innovation companies.

BBG Ventures: investing in US-based visionary teams (with at least one female founder) building the next generation of market-defining consumer products and services.

Bumble Fund: seed and early-stage corporate venture investing vehicle focusing primarily on businesses founded and led by women of color and those from underrepresented groups within US.

Golden Seeds Ventures: investing in  US-based female founders with expertise in their domain.

Portfolia: designing investment funds for women backing the US-based innovative companies they want to see in the world, for returns and impact.

True Wealth Ventures: an early-stage venture capital fund run by women investing in US-based women-led companies with products and technologies in the sustainable consumer and consumer health sectors that more efficiently solve the next generation of challenges.

The 22 Fund: investing in US-based tech-based, export-oriented manufacturing companies, to create clean jobs of the future in underserved and LMI communities, intentionally including women and BIPOC led firms to deliver both high ROI and social/economic impact.

Pipeline Ventures: investing and creating capital for trans women, cis women, nonbinary, two-spirit, agender, and gender-nonconforming founders within US.

BELLE Capital USA: investing in companies with female founders or owners and/or committing to recruiting top female talent to C-Suite and Board in the US.

The Jump Fund: a women-led micro VC firm investing in female-led ventures across the Southeast U.S.

Minority Business Development Agency: Enterprising Women of Color Initiative, focusing on the fast-expanding minority women entrepreneur population as a revenue generator for families, communities, and the nation.

ICA: accelerating great businesses through investments to grow Bay Area businesses and closing the gender and racial wealth gap.

InvestHer Ventures: the first venture capital fund in Chicago that promotes, supports, and invests in early-stage tech companies built by female founders.

Elevate Capital: investing early in underserved and overlooked entrepreneurs (such as women and ethnic minorities, or those with limited access regionally to capital and opportunities) in Oregon.

Disruption Ventures: funding women-led companies as high value and high potential investment projects in North America

January Ventures: investing in female, more diverse and more distributed founders in US and Europe.

Female Funders Fund: investing exclusively in female-founded early-stage companies in US and Europe.

Merian Ventures: investing in women founded and co-founded innovation in cyber, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and consumer-facing companies; geographical coverage: US and UK.

Investing Women: investing in Scottish-based companies and we are particularly interested in companies with one or more female founders.

Borski Fund: investing in Netherlands-based companies that reduce the gender gap.

Marigold Capital: investing in in Canada-based underrepresented founders with technology-enabled products and services that deliver value to women, BIPOC, and underserved groups.

Scale Investors: a female-focused member-based Angel Investor network that invests in exceptional female founders in Australia.

Enygma Ventures: investing in women-led businesses that have an established track record, a proven revenue model and demonstrated growth in SADC.

Are any global/regional impact investing opportunities missing? Please share the links in the comments below.

Other useful links on this topic:

Grants for Women: grants and funding opportunities for women.

EU online platform to look for country-specific funding opportunities for female social entrepreneurs.

Resources for women social entrepreneurs by ChangemakHERS

COVID-19 Resources & Ongoing Opportunities for Women Social Impact Entrepreneurs by Cartier Women’s Initiative: funding opportunities, strategies for adapting to the crisis.  

Global Invest Her: Covid-19 resources per country.

Information, Grants, and Resources for Women That Own Small Businesses

More learning and funding resources for impact ventures can be found in the following blog posts:

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 2: Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

Categories
Resources for Impact Ventures

Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1: Learn and Grow

Success has no gender, opportunity shouldn’t have either

You can now order the entire Collection of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures. Hundreds of opportunities for your impact venture to start and progress faster. Target lists (per country and/or sector) on demand. Geographical coverage: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America

This is the first blog post in the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”: Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1.

The European Study “Women-led social enterprises” and Ashoka’s recent report ”Celebrating ChangemakHERS” show that women are deservedly called genuine social entrepreneurs, as they tend to be more engaged in tackling social and environmental issues. It partially explains a lesser gap between men and women impactpreneurs. However, female social entrepreneurs encounter the same challenges as mainstream businesswomen: lack of business skills and visibility, difficulties with acquiring external funding, and other gender-based constraints. Thus, this blog post will be split into two parts:

  1. Opportunities to Learn and Grow
  2. Funding Solutions

The below programs and accelerators equip women social entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and knowledge in order to support them on their mission to uplift the lives of other women, families, communities, and also promote ecosystem building for female impactrepreneurs.

General and sector-specific opportunities/programs designed exclusively for women impactpreneurs

Programs launched with the aim to empower women:

AWE Partners: an online training program that teaches an intentional and strategic approach to women who want to effectively share their gifts, talents, and resources to co-create the better world they dream of.

SoGal Foundation: SoGal Academy with a mission to close the global diversity gap in entrepreneurship and investing. Creating accessible education about investing, founder wellness, breaking into VC, and scaling a startup – brings us one step closer to bridging that gap.

The Coaching Fellowship: a six-month professional coaching fellowship for young women leaders of impact.

Cartier Women’s Initiative: providing women entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to grow their business and to build their leadership capacity by drawing upon the experience and expertise of academics, practitioners, industry experts, and entrepreneurs and by enabling peer learning.

Inspiring Capital: Return with Purpose Fellowship, a year-long experiential learning program in a cohort of like-minded women with exposure to Inspiring Capital’s broader social impact network.

Ogunte: offering several programs designed for impact women: growing leadership, increased sustainability, sense of connectedness, growth of confidence, enhanced sense of learning.

Women Moving Millions: Philanthropic Leadership Program, for anyone seeking to learn how to be supportive leaders for women and girls’ movement (influence, impact, investment), and a community of peers and leaders for a gender-equal world.

FEM-START: an intentionally inclusive program that seeks to empower women techpreneurs to change the world; supporting women-led startups, based in Europe, that focus on tech or social impact.

IIX Foundation: equipping women with education and knowledge to gain better livelihoods, to start and grow businesses, and to become investors and inclusive businesses that in turn, impact more underserved women.

Girls Who Venture: exploring and expanding knowledge of women entrepreneurship through education, research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries.

Girls in Tech: providing training and resources, experiences and community with a mission to eliminate the gender gap in tech.

Hatch Enterprise UK: a couple of programs for  Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic woman in the UK.

She Entrepreneurs: a leadership program for highly motivated women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa region who are building successful and sustainable businesses with the potential to make a difference in their societies.

High Water Women: virtual events on investing in gender, diversity, and inclusion.

Networking, matchmaking, and mentorship support for women social entrepreneurs:

How Women Lead: a platform for women to connect, learn, find purpose and make an impact.

The Hawthorn Club: an international network for executive women in the energy industry.

Women in Solar Energy: a non-profit network advocating for JEDI principles of justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the solar energy industry.

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability: an influential network of professionals to further the roles of women in growing the green economy and making a positive impact on the environment.

Women’s Energy Network: an international organization of professionals who work across the energy value chain.

Young Women Social Entrepreneurs: a global network of women change-makers organized and led through volunteer chapter networks.

ChangemakHERS: an online network dedicated entirely to female Ashoka collaborators.

MentHer: a global mentorship network supporting female social entrepreneurs.

H.E.R. Entrepreneur: providing free access to business consultations, training, and conference for underprivileged and abused women to help set beneficiaries up for success.

accelerateHER: focusing on addressing the underrepresentation of women in tech, championing those who are trailblazers in promoting gender equality, and upsetting tired stereotypes.

Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA): a 6-month program: training, mentoring, business coaching, and networking opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector.

50/50 Women on Boards: educating, advocating and collaborating to increase the number of women on corporate boards and drive business imperative for corporate action in the US.

Invest For Better: a nonprofit campaign that provides resources for women to become effective impact investors in US.

Solar Sister: recruiting, training women entrepreneurs to build businesses and bring clean energy to their communities in Africa.

LadyAgri: a network of International and African professionals linking agri-businesses with the finance community, social impact funds, through which women-agri- entrepreneurs can develop and upscale their businesses in Africa and Small Island Developing States. 

Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation: a community empowering pioneering female entrepreneurs to develop innovations.

Incubators and accelerators for female impactpreneurs:

Ad Astra Ventures: virtual bootcamps and accelerators for the female founders who are redefining the future of business and prioritizing people, values, and a deeper mission above profit.

Technovation Girls: a challenge for teams of young people from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology.

HALO Incubator: providing early-stage women entrepreneurs with the essentials required to fast-track their high-potential start-ups into scalable and successful businesses.

Empow’Her: an incubation program for women-led enterprises with a positive environmental and social impact; geographical coverage: Ivory Coast, Niger, France, Europe.

Springboard Enterprises: coaching and accelerators for women-led companies in technology and life science.

Upaya Social Ventures and MIT D-Lab initiative: a hands-on social business accelerator for early-stage women entrepreneurs.

She Loves Tech: an accelerator and bootcamps for diverse founders and startups with transformative impact for women; sectors: health&wellbeing, education, cleantech&sustainability, food&agritech, women’s issues.

Girl Effect Accelerator: a two-week program for entrepreneurs leading wildly innovative startups that are positioned to benefit millions of girls in poverty (in partnership with The Nike Foundation (co-founders of the Girl Effect) and Unreasonable Group).

F-Lane: a 5-week virtual accelerator for impact-driven entrepreneurs who have developed an innovative digital solution that has the potential to impact millions of girls and women around the globe.

The Female Founders Lab: an accelerator for female founders with ideas/ventures impacting society.

Women Who Tech: Women Startup Challenge (full support model with mentoring, partnerships, resources, and funding for women tech entrepreneurs with innovative startups).

Female Funders: an educational investor accelerator program designed for female leaders in the corporate and technology sectors.

La Ruche: several incubation programs for social enterprises in France.

We in Social Tech: a London-based accelerator for female social tech founders.

Do you know of other learning opportunities for women impactpreneurs? Do not hesitate to share the links in the comments.

Other useful links on this topic:

Other educational programs and accelerators for women-led ventures are listed in the first comment below.

The Part 2: Funding Solutions for Women Impact Entrepreneurs can be found here.

More learning and funding resources for impact ventures can be found in the following blog posts:

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 2: Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).