There are many players working hard to develop a social entrepreneurship culture in Central Ohio. Much progress has been made in a few years. In early 2015 we were able to identify 26 local social enterprises. Two years later our directory of social enterprises numbers 100.
We have also worked hard to figure out how to attract capital to this generally bootstrapped sector. In addition to the local pioneer impact investor Tony Wells, we are fortunate to now have a local Kiva Columbus portal for zero-interest lending and local offices for DRK Foundation of Menlo Park , Semble of Bellevue, Washington, and Illinois Finance Fund of Chicago.
But we are really getting on the map when one of the oldest social impact investors in the U.S., RSF Social Finance, cold calls the Center for Social Enterprise Development to ask to be introduced to our most dynamic local social enterprises and to some of our major local players.
Yes, this happened yesterday!
RSF Social Finance has been making impact investments since 1984 and has a remarkable track record of modest but steady return on investment, rarely if ever having a down year. They tracked down our Social Enterprise Directory, whose listings gave them enough ideas for investment in our local social enterprises to prompt a visit to Columbus.
My hope is that their visit to Columbus will invigorate and embolden our local investing community to take a closer look at social enterprise and commit to take the plunge to add these social impact businesses to their investment portfolio. Still need to get more familiar with the landscape? Our blogs, tweets, and Facebook page can get you there.
With increased excitement for the future of our Central Ohio social entrepreneurs,
Allen Proctor, President & CEO
Center for Social Enterprise Development