Creative Economy | October 11, 2017

Good Capital Project takes on impact investing’s `grand challenges’

The team at


By Sharadiya Dasgupta, Good Capital Project

The Good Capital project has a simple goal: drive more capital towards more impact investments. To increase the flow of “good capital” we’ve taken on six Grand Challenges:

  • Creating shared understanding
  • Efficient product design and distribution
  • Enabling the entrepreneur
  • Impact measurement and management
  • Investable solutions
  • Legal structures and policy

Already, our early events and workshops with market leaders have yielded some powerful ideas for boosting the flow of impact capital. Training for financial advisors, celebrating successes, a centralized broker-dealer and mapping legal resources are just a few (see more below).

Ahead of the official kick-off of SOCAP today, we’re hosting a design lab to move ahead with progress on all six Grand Challenges. But first, an update.

The launch-day design sessions generated over 1600 ideas aimed at solving the 18 biggest impediments to scale for the impact industry was the first stage of empathizing and understanding the current pain points of the industry.

Once we understand the need gaps, the endeavor is to bridge the gap in multiple ways — highlight and amplify initiatives that are currently underway to address the need gap, foster and facilitate partnerships to enable some of the ongoing initiatives to achieve scale and visibility, and join the process of designing and developing new solutions in partnership and collaboration with other stakeholders, and actors. Doing all this while remaining true to our central proponent of being radically inclusive.

Washington D.C. lab

Soon after the launch, the Good Capital Project Design Lab travelled to Washington, DC to engage new, vital stakeholders of the impact community. Despite the short notice in summer, we hosted over 50 participants from a broad range of organizations and sectors including, National Security Council, USAID, Inter American Development Bank, InterAction, Halcyon Incubator, Alphamundi, and Deloitte. (Read the full report of our DC session here).

Early ideas

In the final weeks of summer, we convened Grand Challenge working sessions in our offices in New York as laid out in our original project plan.

These sessions were designed to be a candid and open conversation to understand the priorities that each Grand Challenge would like to take forward to the next stage of collaboration at SOCAP, 2017.

We kicked off our define phase with the working session of “Investable solutions.” The following are some of the ideas that emerged from this exciting round of conversation:

  • Establish an initiative to drive training of financial advisors and investors expand awareness, education, and demand for impact products. A catalogue of blended value success stories should be included in these training modules.
  • Launch an initiative to develop ways to create synergies with broker-dealers — establishing an understanding of better pathways to distribution.

Next came the “Impact measurement and management” working session that had representation from a wide array of organizations including foundations, academia, investment and intelligence platforms, impact funds, and asset managers. This working group had the following ideas that could be developed further through collaboration:

  • Develop in partnership with existing initiatives, a glossary of impact terminology.
  • Provide incentive by celebrating success of players in the market. Launch awards and recognitions like the “B-Corp of the year”, “Best NGO basis impact performance”.

This was followed by the working session of “Efficient product design and distribution” that presented the below ideas, amongst others:

  • A centralized industry group that does some level of minimal due diligence and provide a central broker-dealer function. This would provide a target for product issuers and a way for intermediaries to mitigate some level of risk.
  • Device a strategy to get institutional players involved. For instance, there should be impact investment conferences geared towards financial players.

Legal structures and policy” had some great ideas on how legal practitioners can advance the field of social enterprise:

  • Survey and map how accelerators are tapping legal resources and where the gaps are.
  • Map the legal needs of financial advisors and build in a legal module to advisor training from lawyers on issues related to advising on impact.

Please find the detailed reports on our website for a glimpse into the working sessions.

Next Steps

The GCP Design Lab is thrilled to take these ideas forward to SOCAP and continue gathering input from the community.

On Tuesday, October 10 we are hosting design workshops titled “Education programs to scale impact investing,” and “The impact economy supply chain” at 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm respectively. The first workshop is the natural progression of our discussion surrounding “Creating shared understanding,” “Impact measurement and management” and “Enabling the entrepreneur” in which time and again stakeholders across the spectrum, have reiterated the critical need of accessible, and comprehensive education programs that meet the requirements of different audience sets.

The second workshop integrates the recurring themes of our other three Grand Challenges — “Efficient product design and distribution,” “Investable solutions” and “Legal structures and policy” and we have curated experienced voices who work at different stages of the impact value chain, to provide a complete perspective on the current baseline and to brainstorm over optimal ways to achieve scale. Please find more details here.

If you are unable to make it to the workshops, you will find us at booth # 9. We would love to say hello and hear your recommendations, suggestions for improvement, and partnership ideas.

The GCP Design Lab looks forward to many stimulating conversations, and exchanges at SOCAP. Good Capital Project is a collaborative initiative and we solicit your insights, feedback, and resources for us to be an effective agent of change.

Here’s to a great week at SOCAP!