Creating a new financial market for social entrepreneurs focusing on health and health care in the U.S.

The purpose of this project is to test the feasibility of developing a new financial market to meet the capital and financial services demands of social entrepreneurs. Business has always looked to its entrepreneurs to create or redefine industries and new markets and thus maintain dynamism in a field. Business entrepreneurs could not have succeeded, however, without the highly responsive, creative, diverse financial institutions that serve them. Social entrepreneurs can play the same role in the social services sector, yet there is no organized financial market that recognizes them and responds to their needs outside of individual "angel" investors. The social sector remains overwhelmingly dependent on two sources of institutional support--government and foundations--neither of which funds in a way that promotes a competitive social services sector. Ashoka, a global organization that promotes social entrepreneurship, has identified four strategic components to encourage investment innovation. First, Ashoka would help leading financial institutions to develop new products that invest in social entrepreneurs. Second, it would provide the technical assistance social entrepreneurs need to package their ideas for investment scrutiny. Third, it would create an investment exchange platform that could provide a "deal space" for investors and social entrepreneurs to meet and vet projects. Fourth, it would administer an investment fund focused on health and health care. The project will be considered successful if it: (1) promotes the idea of private investment in innovative social sector models; (2) facilitates the development of new financial products more user-friendly to social entrepreneurs; (3) leverages substantial new private resources to social entrepreneurs; and (4) underwrites the development and/or expansion of at least three social entrepreneurial models in the health field.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $1,540,175.00

Awarded on: 8/17/2005

Time frame: 8/15/2005 - 2/28/2014

Grant Number: 52599



1700 North Moore Street, Suite 2000
Arlington, 22209-1921


Stuart Yasgur
Project Director