This month we kicked off our PowerWomen Chat event series, which will feature up close and personal conversations with leading women in entrepreneurship, business, and investment. Our topic for this month was Impact Investing. What really is impact? How do we find the right impact investors? These two women share more about their roles and visions for helping female founders build successful investment-worthy businesses.
P.S. We also celebrated the UK launch of the book Integrated Investing– Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body & Soul!
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Be able to your impact effectively to investors
- Translate your impact/ideas into a commercial strategy
- Don’t cater to the average; seek out diversity in your impact and in your impact investors
Bonnie Foley-Wong, Founder of Pique Ventures and Author of Integrated Investing
Servant Mouazan, Founder of Ogunte
Communication is Key
Before pitching to investors, it’s important to know the drivers behind your business. Investors are going to ask critical planning stage questions right away: Who are you selling to? What are your financial and social objectives? How do you plan to measure your outputs and outcomes?
Even though the impact may not be that obvious for some businesses, it’s okay, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that explicit to investors from the start. In some cases, impact could actually take months to show since they don’t occur on annual reporting cycles like financial returns would. It is at this point where communication with impact investors becomes crucial. You need to be able to report on the process of your social impact. Whether that process shows through the product itself, through the business model, or even through the behaviours and attitudes of those in the business, you’re essentially building a narrative for investors to follow. You’re communicating the change that you see because of your business.
Bonnie explained this further by using two sides to communicating impact: informing and influencing. As a business owner, you have to be able to do both when it comes to seeking investment decisions. It’s one thing to explain revenue and a measurable social impact, but it’s much more another when using experiential communication to do so. Experiential communication means giving investors a reason to stand behind your business, allowing them to understand your impact in a way that’s meaningful for them. Showing them the real power of their investment dollars.
Social entrepreneurs often have this reputation of being second-rate businesspeople, and as a female social entrepreneur those perceptions are only heightened.
While you’re there to reap the rewards and satisfaction of solving a social issue, you also have to show investors that you aren’t just there for fun.
It’s one thing to be anchored in your community, but being able to translate that energy into a scalable, sustainable organization is what’s going to be most effective in the long term. Can you actually create a profit? Is the impact obvious?
Again, it’s okay if your business hasn’t had a massive impact yet. Servane, who has worked with nearly 6,000 female founders, said that many women are passionate about their social issues, but struggle to convert their ideas into a commercial strategy. This is why she encourages them to think from a different perspective, using the idea of validation. By using philanthropic investment as a selling point to investors, you can show them…
There’s so many different ways to define impact and even more ways to think about how to choose your impact investment opportunities.
Want to hear from more PowerWomen and their experiences as female entrepreneurs? Check out our future events here!