Social innovation in Québec, Canada, had a boost recently with the launch of a new platform, Social Venture Connexion (SVX) Québec, which aims to connect impact investors with social ventures.
The platform is led by Virgin Unite’s partner, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing (MaRS CII) – a Toronto-based social finance hub and project incubator – and Esplanade – Québec’s first collaborative space dedicated to social entrepreneurs and social innovators. In Ontario, where SVX was first launched almost two years ago, it has already raised $3.5 million for 28 ventures, and now it comes to Québec.
SVX Québec has been locally led, shaped, and supported by individuals and leaders from the community and mainstream corporate sector. As a collaborative social innovation, SVX has been driven and supported by community and corporate influencers, such as TMX Group Inc., Torys LLP, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, BDC, KPMG, Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Saint Elizabeth, and Esplanade, among many others.
- There are more than 6,000 social economy enterprises in Québec.
- In Québec, assets managed by institutional investors focused on financing social businesses reached $1.4 billion in 2013, an increase of 39 per cent compared to 2010.
- In Canada, $5 billion in capital is dedicated towards impact investing.
SVX Québec has an outstanding first group of issuers representing the vibrant community of social enterprises in the province, including: Learning Bird, Ecotierra, CoPower, and L’Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant (UTILE).
MaRS CII and Virgin Unite partnered last December to support Canadian entrepreneurs tackling social and environmental challenges, and announced a $1 million seed capital fund – provided by Virgin Unite Canada and the Mindset Social Innovation Foundation. Alongside the fund, Virgin Unite will support MaRS CII further, in helping develop a network of impact venture accelerators in Ontario (Impact8), Quebec (Impact8 Quebec) and BC (Radius), and support the implementation of an online mentorship platform.
New social enterprise accelerator launched
Impact8 is an initiative launched by MaRS and Esplanade, that is supported by Virgin Unite. This relationship aims to help high potential social enterprises attract financing, in order to scale their impact. Impact8 offers workshops, advice, mentoring, peer learning, community, introductions, a mentorship platform and pitch opportunities. It forms part of MaRS’ CII’s impact accelerator network.