CSI Investing for Impact Conference
8 April 2010 at 4:24 pm
Social business operators and investors have come together in Melbourne for the inaugural Centre for Social Impact’s Investing for Impact Conference.
This invitation-only event is said to be the first of its kind in Australia, with the aim of exploring and developing new ways of mobilising capital to drive positive social, environmental and economic change.
Keynote speaker, Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, told the delegates that the conference was unique in the Australian context as an opportunity to bring together the varying parts of the puzzle with a clear goal to catalyse “impact investing” into social businesses.
Sen. Sherry said that while social impact investment is not entirely new in Australia, some aspects of it are relatively undeveloped here in comparison to the United Kingdom or Europe for example.
He said this is the case particularly in relation to financing of social enterprises.
He said the Forum had brought together the individuals, the organisations, the institutional investors and the groups that can bring all of the pieces together and deliver the financial backing to make social impact investment move from niche to understood and mainstream.
The Senator told the conference that the Rudd Government views social investment as an important factor in helping drive social, environmental and economic change. At the same time, it is one part of a successful and diversified economic policy framework that has delivered Australia an economy that’s withstood the global financial crisis.
He said for business to take the next step and invest, rather than just give, they had certain, reasonably well defined needs.
He said business needs a degree of certainty about what it is investing in, a degree of confidence that the social business investment target is prepared and that it understood the challenges of enterprise.
The Assistant Treasurer said so much of this rests on a steady flow of information. As such, the Federal Government is also looking at ways to build the capacity of the Not for Profit sector to respond to the business community’s desire for a more evidence-based, social investment approach to philanthropy.
The event also included a Panel showcasing social businesses and investors leading the field of Impact investing, and an interactive discussion exploring how to catalyse this form of investment in Australia. The conference will produce a report of the proceedings.