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Investment Readiness Program

Funding for social purpose organizations to become investment ready and participate in Canada’s social finance market.
Applications Open Sep 8 - Oct 9 2020

 

The Investment Readiness Program

Click to watch the video above, or visit: https://youtu.be/HS0UvhpkcGc

The Investment Readiness Program (IRP) offers funding between $10,000 to $100,000 (with the average funding size of approximately $40,000) to support social purpose organizations, which includes non-profits, charities, co-ops, and for-profit social enterprises, to move along the continuum from great ideas to investment-ready. In the midst of COVID-19, social purpose organizations are especially critical for BC’s recovery efforts by helping to address some of the biggest social, economic, cultural, and environmental challenges we face.

Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with the UBC Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing and Vancity Community Foundation, is offering IRP funding to organizations in Metro Vancouver and areas in BC not covered by other partners in the program, notably the Sunshine Coast, Sea-to-Sky Corridor, the ‎Thompson-Nicola District and the Kootenays. Note that Vancouver Foundation is NOT covering the following regions: Vancouver Island, Okanagan, Northern BC & Cariboo, and Abbotsford & the Fraser Valley. For contact information in these regions, please click here

IRP funding may be used to work with an expert service provider on business ideation, market research, or business planning (click here for a list of potential service providers), or activities that encourage growth and scaling impact. Up to 20% of project budgets can be allocated to cover staffing support or operating costs for the project.

In the first call for applications earlier this year, Vancouver Foundation and its partners awarded $931,963 in funding to 23 organizations in Metro Vancouver and regions in BC not covered by other partners in the program. For a full list of recipients across Canada, please click here. For a summary of recipients in BC funded through Vancouver Foundation, click here.

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Investment Readiness

A social purpose organization is considered “investment ready” when it is able to obtain and repay an investment, such as loans or equity, from an investor within an agreed-upon timeframe. To do so, a social purpose organization must demonstrate a good understanding of investors needs (for things like business plans, financial forecasts and projected impact) and its ability to repay the investment.

Investments can be received from various sources such as financial institutions and intermediaries like community loan funds, credit unions, Indigenous financial institutions and chartered banks that connect the supply side of the social finance market with the demand side.

There are many stages along the path to becoming investment-ready. The continuum begins with early ideation, design, enterprise development and culminates in a social purpose organization being primed to receive investment.

Federal Government Funding

The IRP is funded by the Government of Canada and aims to provide funding to help social purpose organizations become investment-ready. This is in preparation for a $755 million Social Finance Fund the federal government will invest over 10 years. With matching from the private sector, a total of $2 billion of investment will be available for social purpose organizations to enhance their impact and participate in the social finance market.

Consortium Partners

For the purpose of disbursing the IRP funds, Vancouver Foundation has formed a consortium with the UBC Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing and Vancity Community Foundation. All three organizations will administer and deploy funding to the Metro Vancouver region and BC regions not covered by other partners participating in the program. These partners bring their expertise on investment readiness and social financing, as well as the capacity to distribute funds to non-qualified donees. 

Eligibility 

Organizations can apply to the IRP if they are:

  • registered charities
  • incorporated non-profit organizations
  • co-operatives
  • private social enterprise businesses advancing a social, cultural, or environmental mission (for-profit social enterprise)
  • hybrid entities such as Community Contribution Companies 

Priority will be given to social purpose organizations offering direct benefit to communities as opposed to expert service providers, social finance intermediaries, or organizations that provide services to other social purpose organizations. 

We strongly encourage applications from rural communities and organizations led by and/or serving BIPOC, LGBTQ2+, and newcomer/refugee communities.

Applicants must:

  • Have, or plan to have, a mechanism that generates revenue from the sales of goods and/or services. Revenue from donations does not count in this context. The IRP is intended to support the adoption and growth of revenue generation through the sale of goods and services.
  • Have a plan or intention to seek investment, whether loans or equity
  • Have a charitable number/be a qualified donee or a business registration or incorporation number.
  • Demonstrate they have a plan, capacity, and expertise to carry out the proposed project for which they are applying.
  • Projects can start January 15, 2021 and must be completed by June 1, 2021.

Resources

Below are some resources to help you learn more about the program, whether this opportunity is right for you, and to support your application:

Prepare Your Application

  1. Read through the Program Guidelines and FAQs

    These documents will cover everything you need to know about the IRP. We strongly recommend reviewing them thoroughly to determine if this program is a fit for your organization.

  2. Watch the webinar recording

    This one-hour recording offers ways to strengthen your IRP application based on insights from the first round. We highly encourage you to watch this before completing the concept brief and/or your formal application.

    Investment Readiness Program: Round 2 Webinar

     

  3. [Optional] Complete a concept brief for recommendations on your application

    Until September 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM PT, you can fill out a concept brief to share information about your project in order to receive recommendations on your application before you submit it. We'll respond within one week of receiving it. This is an optional step and not part of the formal application process. To participate, click here.

  4. Starting September 8, you can submit your application.

    Applications open on September 8. Once you’re ready, you can submit your full application through the Community Foundations of Canada online application portal at https://cfc-fcc.smapply.ca/

    The deadline to apply is October 9, 2020 at 5:00 PM PT.

Key Dates

  • September 8, 2020: Applications open
  • September 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM PT: Last day to submit a concept brief for recommendations (optional)
  • October 9, 2020 at 5:00 PM PT: Applications close
  • Early 2021: Decisions communicated by Vancouver Foundation

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Contact

  • If you have questions that are unanswered by the Program Guidelines, FAQs and webinar, please submit questions to irp@vancouverfoundation.ca
  • If you’re located outside of the regions covered by Vancouver Foundation and unsure of who to call, please contact CFC at readiness@communityfoundations.ca.
  • If you're experiencing any technical difficulties with the online application portal, please contact CFC at ingoy@communityfoundations.ca.