Impact8 fast-tracks high-potential social ventures to a greater stage of investment readiness, helping them attract financing to scale their impact.
Impact8 is open to ventures from any sector from across Canada and will run in the fall from September through November 2015.
Impact8 is an investment-readiness program supporting high-impact ventures with blended value propositions: social enterprises or social purpose businesses generating positive social or environmental impact and compelling financial returns. The program brings cohorts of eight ventures together for eight weeks of programming, culminating in an investor and stakeholder pitch event, Demo Day.
Developed by the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, Impact8 leverages the skills and expertise of MaRS and its partners to deliver targeted workshops, one-to-one advisory services, mentorship, peer learning, investor introductions and presentation opportunities. Key contributing partners to Impact8 content and advisory services include BDC, KPMG, Miller Thomson, RBC, TMX Group and more.
The curriculum is tailored for each cohort and is focused on preparing ventures to raise capital and integrate impact into their performance measurement. Interactive workshops encourage ventures to revisit business models, customer segmentation and value proposition, finance fundamentals (emphasis on forecasting and valuations), marketing and communications, legal and governance structures (including corporate and capital structures, and IP).
Impact8 will be adapted for the Québec market by leveraging its partnership with l’Esplanade and other key organizations to deliver the same value for the first cohort of Impact8 Québec.
Impact8 graduates will be eligible to become SVX issuers, and where appropriate, to be considered by the Impact Venture Fund. One peer-selected winner from each cohort will receive an operational grant from the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.
“Impact8 gave us the tools and connections to refine all aspects of our ventures, specifically in defining the social and economic value we deliver. We have now higher confidence when talking investors and funders. The introductions and events done by the Centre for Impact Investment have had a direct impact in our growth and media exposure. We would encourage any impact venture to join the program.” Mauricio Meza, Komodo Open Lab (Cohort 2)
“Impact8 provided amazing access to resources and workshops that were essential in accelerating our growth. Sessions, mentoring and the connections to other social entrepreneurs provided us time to reflect on growth plans, refine our offering, and perfect our pitch and value proposition. We have now scaled improved energy access to over 30,000 people! A big thanks to Impact8 for helping us achieve this!” – Jason Gray, SunFarmer (Cohort 1)
Who Should Apply?
Impact8 seeks to accelerate startups that have achieved product validation and are seeking investment to grow their enterprise and scale their impact. While Impact8 is conducted in Toronto and Montréal, these two cohorts are open to ventures from across Canada, from any sector!
- Canadian incorporated for-profit, not for-profit or cooperative organization
- Minimum one-year operational history
- Existing revenue or customers
- Strong understanding of operational, financial and strategic plans
- Evidence of relevant expertise within management/officers and directors
- Demonstrable, measurable impact in target outcome areas
- Participants must work full-time on their venture and should be raising or planning to raise investment capital within the next 6-12 months.
The programs will run from mid-September-November, and will include in-person workshops, complemented by one-to-one advisory from service providers and mentors, and culminate in an investor and stakeholder presentation event, Demo Day. Impact8 Ontario includes bi-weekly programming while Impact8 Québec includes weekly programming. Participants must be available and in Toronto or Montréal respectively for in-person programming.
Mentorship is a key component of social venture development. For more on our mentorship process, click here. If you are an individual with strong experience within your sector, entrepreneurship or in finance/ investment, and would be interested in working with high-impact social entrepreneurs, please write us a brief note to express your interest.