Hitting the mark

Social entrepreneurship incubator Innovation Works closes second community bond program

THE SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP hub Innovation Works has closed a second round of their unique community bond investment program, raising $1 million from more than 75 investors.

This is the second community bond issued by Innovation Works in the past five years. The organization views it as the best of both worlds: a philanthropically minded investment with a modest guaranteed return of 3 per cent. Most anybody can invest, with a minimum buy-in of only $1,000.

“Unlike the traditional choice between supporting good causes through philanthropy and investing solely for financial returns,” the organization explains, “community bonds offer a way to achieve both objectives — supporting a charity or nota-profit’s mission, while earning a financial return.”

The capital helps Innovation Works maintain their building and services to the wider non-profit community.

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A total of 77 investors kicked in for this round, the org says. They also see the bond as a better way to raise capital — a more holistic buy-in from the community itself, rather than further-flung financiers. “The bond allows Innovation Works to engage the London community to create a sense of ownership and co-creation,” the organization says.

“In our fifth year at Innovation Works, the support of Londoners for our second community bond is a strong endorsement of our mission to cultivate community and spark collaboration for positive impact,” says Lore Wainwright, director of operations at Innovation Works.

Hitting the mark Innovation Works FinancingLore Wainwright, Innovation Works director of operations

“I choose to invest in an Innovation Works community bond because I see it as a bigger community investment,” adds community bondholder, Gerda Zonruiter. “I believe in the power that this shared space has to foster innovation and entrepreneurship by encouraging and facilitating connections between people with different passions, talents and skills.”

If you missed out on this round of the community bond, but are interested in a similar flavour of investment, Innovation Works has also announced that Verge Capital, a social finance program run under the Pillar Nonprofit Network (of which Innovation Works is a part), is soon launching an impact investment fund directed at supporting small local businesses and social enterprises across Southwestern Ontario. Hitting the mark Innovation Works Financing Kieran Delamont

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