Toronto's MaRS Discovery District officially launched its new impact investing platform, Social Venture Connexion, this morning at the Toronto Stock Exchange.
According to MaRS, SVX is the first local impact investment platform of its kind in North America. To celebrate the launch, Ilse Treurnicht the CEO of MaRS Discovery District, helped open trading this morning.
MaRS says SVX started from a simple idea: mobilize private capital for public good by driving investment in organizations and companies that will, in turn, better our world.
The online platform will connect investors and funds with local ventures—including not-for-profits, co-operatives and for-profit corporations—that have a demonstrated social and/or environmental impact and the potential for financial return. The platform allows investors to identify screened investment opportunities, reducing the time and cost burden of due diligence, and provides ventures and funds with increased access to capital and financial expertise at low cost.
"SVX provides a single access point for impact ventures and impact investors looking to connect," says Adam Spence, Adam Spence, Associate Director of MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, who now heads up SVX on behalf of MaRS. "Until now there has been no platform for investors to identify ventures with a positive impact. We're also opening the door to high-impact ventures that need funding to grow and scale."
"SVX places Canada at the forefront of the global impact investing market," added Ronald Alepian, Vice President and Group Head of Corporate Marketing and Communications at TMX, which cofounded the project. "TMX Group looks forward to working with MaRS to build a unique model to help mobilize private capital to drive social and environmental impact."
SVX is targeted towards Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises with less than $25 million in revenues in sectors including affordable housing, employment services, food security, education, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and initiatives for First Nations and new Canadians.
According to MaRs, the impact ventures and funds on SVX's directory must meet rigorous criteria and standards to access the platform, including a minimum impact rating via the Global Impact Investing Rating System in the case of for-profit ventures and funds.
SVX is accessible to Ontario-based accredited investors. This list includes impact-focused angel investors, philanthropists, and foundations looking for mission-related investments.
"I'm proud Ontario is home to North America's first online platform to connect social ventures and impact investors," said the Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. "Our goal is to make Ontario the best place in the world to invest in social enterprise and, in the process, to help build a stronger economy and fairer society."