– Guest writer: Sue May Talbot
There have been major strides made in advancing equality for women and girls globally — Crossroads International has been working to advance equality for women and girls in developing countries, the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have shone a spotlight on the prevalence of sexual harassment, and Period. End of Story. won Best Documentary at the Oscars recently. In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8, we thought we’d celebrate a group of women who are shaking things up in the impact space here in Canada.
Trish Nixon, CoPower
As the Chief Impact Investing Officer at CoPower, a company that issues green bonds backed by loans to clean energy projects, Trish Nixon is helping to democratize clean energy investing for Canadians. Nixon is also the first recipient of the Ewart Newton Award for Social Innovation, in recognition of her part in CoPower’s placement of $6 million in loans into clean energy projects. What excites her most about CoPower’s mission? In her installment of Genus Capital’s Climate Action Superheroes series, she said the challenge CoPower addresses is providing “profitable, market-driven solutions to social and environmental challenges.”
“CoPower is a platform and model that overcomes the biggest challenge I’ve seen for my industry to date,” Nixon said. “That, to me, is truly exciting. We lower the barrier to entry so that everyday citizens can vote with their dollar, without compromising financial goals.
In my view, that’s how we’re going to build a system of capitalism that actually works for society.” To date, CoPower has raised more than $18 million in green bonds for clean energy.
Vicki Saunders, SheEO
Vicki Saunders has a lofty goal: through SheEO‘s innovative funding model for female-led startups, she wants to create a billion-dollar fund that will launch 10,000 women entrepreneurs every year.
The model is simple: group of “activators” provide $1,100 each in seed money, which is paid back, interest-free, over a five-year period, at which point the money returns to the pool of venture capital. The activators are invited (but not obliged) to help select which enterprises get funding. Part of the application process asks founders not how they intend to generate profits, but how they plan on changing the world. To date, SheEO has helped launch 32 ventures, including the Alinker walking bike, Nada grocery, and Abeego beeswax wraps.
Clayoquot Biosphere Trust
Rebecca Hurwitz is the Executive Director at Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT). As a local community foundation, the CBT manages a trust for Clayoquot Sound, one of Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves and one of only two UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in British Columbia. To mark the UNESCO designation, the federal government entrusted a $12 million grant to Clayoquot Sound communities through the creation of the Canada Fund in 2000.
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) manages this endowment fund to uphold the spirit and intent of the biosphere reserve designation through innovative education programs, sustainability research and celebrating the unique communities and ecosystems of Clayoquot Sound.
Part of Rebecca’s role involves overseeing CBT’s semi-annual community health snapshot, Vital Signs, which brings together data from different sources into a digestible format. It covers ten themes, including education, economy, health, language, and culture. The insights are designed to provide local leaders with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. Rebecca ensures the data CBT shares resonates with its local audience, to better support and protect the local ecosystems and communities.
Interested in learning more about women-led impact investing ops? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sue May Talbot, Partner at Genus Capital