Social Impact Fund finances a better world
Through the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund (AASIF), the bank invests its own money in social and sustainable enterprises whose aim it is to bring about real social change. Created in March 2013, the fund supports organisations which aim to be both socially sustainable and financially profitable. Making direct investments from €500,000 to €1.5 million, the bank is helping to develop the social enterprise market.
For enterprises that make a difference
In order to ascertain whether a particular social enterprise is eligible for funding from the Social Impact Fund, ABN AMRO carries out an extensive analysis of the enterprise itself and the market in which it operates, examines its aim and determines whether its objectives are socially and financially feasible.
At the moment, only enterprises based in the Netherlands are eligible for investment. But that doesn’t mean that the social objectives they pursue necessarily have to be carried out in the Netherlands. Indeed, Dutch enterprises with a focus on developing countries, for example, will most certainly be considered for funding. In the future, the bank will decide whether it will extend eligibility to non-Dutch companies.
Social Impact Fund investments
Over the last few years, the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund has invested in a number of social enterprises.
The Dutch enterprise SCOPEinsight focuses on professionalising medium-sized farming businesses in Africa, Latin America and Asia. These organisations are often too large to qualify for microfinancing, yet are too small to be eligible for local commercial credit, which means they simply fall through the cracks.
SCOPEinsight has developed tools to assess the operational management and professionalism of these farms to help them develop more effectively. Such an assessment may lead to a credit rating, making it easier for local banks to provide loans. Assessments also help development organisations design better programmes.
Beebox delivers boxes of fresh, seasonal organic produce from farms directly to the consumer’s front door. This social enterprise guarantees that farmers are paid a fair price and that consumers are provided with healthy food grown in the Netherlands at a competitive price. With a significantly shorter service chain, consumers and farmers alike feel more involved in, and responsible for, food which is produced in a healthy, fair way.
With an investment from the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund, the grocery service can now grow more quickly. The result? Support for Dutch farmers and scope to develop organic, sustainable produce. Beebox has also strengthened its franchise network. Beebox has been awarded the EKO seal of approval.
Energy Floors manufactures flooring which captures kinetic energy when walked or danced on and then converts it into electricity. These floors are laid at events and exhibitions, and in shopping centres. By offering a fun, interactive experience, Energy Floors is hoping to raise awareness of energy production and consumption among the general public.
With an investment from the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund, the company is now developing more advanced floor systems. Using improved technology for things like storing energy, these floors can be used at more and more locations – as part of renewable energy systems for office buildings, public places and train stations, for instance.
BigMove is convinced that health promotion is more effective than care and disease prevention. The enterprise helps individuals get a better grip on their own personal functioning and health. For example, BigMove coaches people with psychological and physical health problems which are often difficult to diagnose, despite repeated referrals to specialists. The underlying problem is often more complex, involving a range of socio-economic, cultural and environmental factors. The BigMove support programmes are very successful, leading to better perceived health among patients and less pressure on primary and secondary healthcare providers. With an investment from the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund, BigMove is developing additional programmes for, and in collaboration with, municipalities and insurers involving community care, youth welfare services, social work and long-term care.
The online consumer platform Nudge focuses on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Some 50,000 individuals and businesses are now affiliated. Nudge organises sustainable and social activities, campaigns and projects for this network. There are currently over 300 “friends of Nudge”. The aim is to bring about lasting behavioural changes involving the environment and social sustainability.
An investment from the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund has given Nudge the opportunity to further strengthen the platform and organisation, allowing it to accelerate more initiatives and connect with more people. In this way, the investment is having a growing impact on the organisation.
The Buzinezzclub is for young people aged seventeen to twenty-seven who are unemployed and not enrolled as students. The Buzinezzclub helps them navigate their way from being benefit recipients to finding employment, enrolling as students or becoming entrepreneurs. The whole point is to help young people achieve their dreams by securing a successful future for themselves without having to depend on benefits to survive. The programme consists of six months of daily training, workshops and personal coaching by a professional in the field.
The ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund has financed three Buzinezzclub projects via a social impact bond – in Rotterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven.
The social entrepreneur TTC (Text to Change) enables developing countries to quickly exchange information using the latest in communication technology. For example, NGOs and government agencies can collect data in the event of an epidemic or for the purpose of supporting public information campaigns.
TTC now reaches millions in Africa, Asia and South America as part of more than 100 projects involving healthcare, agriculture and education. Recently, more than 500,000 Tanzanian women were given health information during pregnancy using TTC’s mobile services.
WAAR, meaning both “true” and “merchandise” in Dutch, is a Netherlands-based social retail chain selling exclusively sustainable products from other social or fair trade enterprises. WAAR is convinced it’s time consumers changed how they buy and use products. All WAAR merchandise is organic, ecological, recycled, fair trade and of high quality.
While many social entrepreneurs offer special products that make the world a better place, they often find it hard to gain access to conventional distribution channels. That’s why WAAR now offers them a dedicated platform. Twenty shops have since opened throughout the Netherlands, and ABN AMRO’s investment means the organisation now has room to grow, can improve online sales and further develop the brand.