First Roundtable on ‘Investing in Social Entrepreneurship’

First Roundtable on ‘Investing in Social Entrepreneurship’

15.01.2013 Blog

On December 10th 2012 the first Roundtable on “Investing in Social Entrepreneurship” took place in Hamburg. The roundtable was organized by iq consult in cooperation with BBO Wirtschaftsprüfung AG, social pioneer gemeinnützige GmbH and the KfW Bank. The intention of the roundtable was to give social innovators the chance to present their idea and their future growth strategy to find the right investment partner. Intense dialogues were held and social entrepreneurs connected with various investors, e.g. traditional banks, foundations and non-financial supporters.

An interesting feature of the roundtable meeting was a role play in which social innovators should take over the role of an investor and investors were given various roles of social innovators. Within that setting the different parties were encouraged to find suitable partners and negotiate conditions for contracts. The role play confronted the partners with the counter-perspective and gave them insights into the argumentation structures and rationalities of the other side. This was interesting due to the fact that on the one hand side investors and innovators do seldom understand each others position and to tackle the issue that social innovators find it hard to acquire both structural and project based capital for their organisation. On the other hand side investors do often have a background in business and are not aware of the problems and specifics of social innovators even if they are willing to invest in these kinds of ventures.

The roundtable shows the growing interest of various – sometimes traditional – investors in the field of social innovation in Germany as there were some new investors at the meeting. It is planned that more investor-innovator dialogues will be organized in the near future. The next meeting of interest will be in Munich on January 30th organized by evobis. Here social innovators present their ideas in the common pitching-format and hope to find investors interested in their idea and growth planning. It will be interesting to see how the social investor landscape will change in the near future when they learn more about the specifics of social innovation and come up with more suitable investment solutions.

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