Green for All‘s Capital Access Program recently convened a two-day event focused on serving social entrepreneurs. The event, titled the Green Business Academy, was held September 29th-30th 2011, was a no-cost event, and took place at the University of Phoenix campus in San Jose, California—located in the vicinity of two of Silicon Valley’s noted tech & innovation pillars, Cisco and eBay.The Green Business Academy gathered green business leaders, socially responsible (impact) investors, legal experts, and support institutions providing local resources including legal services and mentorship necessary to build a social enterprise.Green Business Academy Day 2: Impact Investor Panel

Green Business Academy impact investors panel

Day 2 of the Green Business Academy in San Jose kicked off with a panel of impact investment firms discussing types of funding resources available to local SF Bay Area social entrepreneurs and how to go about pursuing them.

The panelists included:


5 SF Bay Area Resources for Social Entrepreneurs

The panelists largely spoke about their organization’s focus and resources. Below are key points about each of the 5 local resources introduced.

1. Opportunity Fund (@OpportunityFund) is a non-profit organization that supports local entrepreneurship by providing small business loans to maintain and grow companies. It has lent more than $17M to small businesses throughout California.

Panelist Alex Dang mentioned that Opportunity Funds has primarily served 2 types of green businesses: 1) smaller businesses that have had to go green because of regulatory requirements, and which have in turn formed marketing opportunity with new green business models; and 2) businesses that have chosen to source products sustainability.

You can read about Opportunity Fund success stories from their clients.

2. Hub Ventures (@Hubventures) is a 12-week program providing funding and guidance to Bay area social entrepreneurs, based in Hub SoMa and Hub Berkeley. Participants refine business models and investor pitches and build broader networks through weekly sessions, and compete for $75K in seed funding, as decided by their peers.

Panelist Wes Selke mentioned that Hub Ventures is raising $3M in funding to expand the program.

You can browse through the recent cohort of social entrepreneurs from the last Hub Ventures session.

3. Toniic is an angel investor currently comprised of 30 investors in 5 countries, with 3 global chapters, and is growing. Toniic has placed 18 investments with other $3M over last year.

Investors are interested in funding “tranformational enterprises”–that seek to do well by doing good. Toniic funds social ventures across the globe addressing issues such as poverty and climate change.

You can view selected investments by Toniic.

4. Investor’s Circle (@InvestorsCircle) invests in early-stage social start-ups and works to grow its base of “patient capital” investors. Patient capital investors prioritize external rates of return and optimize internal rates of return. Investor’s Circle hosts 2 social venture fairs per year where entrepreneurs and investors meet to discuss potential investment.

You can read about recent presenters at Investor Circle venture fairs.

5. GreenVC (@GreenEconomy) aggregates news and resources on green venture capital, funding, and startups. It is a go-to place to learn about green incubator programs, green funding resources, upcoming events for social entrepreneurs, and registration discounts.

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