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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

UPD: Funding Advisory Services (600+ funding opportunities for impact startups)

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 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

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 3: Mentorship Support, Online Communities, and Talent Pools

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 4: Pitch Decks, Raising Capital, Impact Investing

Get access to dozens of upcoming deadlines (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more) for $15/month. You can also follow #LVfinds on Twitter and Linkedin for occasional updates.

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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)

a woman impact entrepreneur

UPD: Funding Advisory Services (600+ funding opportunities for impact startups)

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

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 3: Mentorship Support, Online Communities, and Talent Pools

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 4: Pitch Decks, Raising Capital, Impact Investing

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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Resources for Impact Ventures

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

Success has no gender, opportunity shouldn’t have either

UPD: 100+ Growth Opportunities for Impact Startups: Online Programs, Fellowships, Challenges, Pitch Competitions, Bootcamps, Incubators, Accelerators, and more

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.

European Innovation Council: Women Leadership Programme for innovative entrepreneurs and researchers.

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.

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.

Startups for All: a purpose-driven online incubator for self-funded founders from underrepresented populations (womxn, women of color, and  queer/trans BIPOC as startup CEOs).

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

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

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 3: Mentorship Support, Online Communities, and Talent Pools

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 4: Pitch Decks, Raising Capital, Impact Investing

Get access to dozens of upcoming deadlines (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more) for $15/month. You can also follow #LVfinds on Twitter and Linkedin for occasional updates.