by A. Lauren Abele, COO, Pipeline Fellowship
Impact investors understand social entrepreneurs who are looking to positively impact people, planet, and profit. Unlike traditional sources of funding—like banks, angels, and VCs—which tend to look exclusively at financial return on investment, impact investors value business models that focus on the triple bottom line. Social entrepreneurs want to do well and do good, and impact investors get them.
The conundrum: Impact investors are few and far between, and this ultimately limits the amount of capital available to social entrepreneurs. So, how does one address this mismatch? By increasing the number of impact investors.
The Pipeline Fellowship does just that. The Fellowship trains women philanthropists to become impact investors through education, mentoring, and practice. In addition to creating capital for social entrepreneurs, the Pipeline Fellowship seeks to increase the number of women angel investors (currently only 13% of U.S. angels are women) and the number of women-led companies receiving financing (in 2010, only 21% of entrepreneurs seeking funding from angel investors were women-owned ventures. Of these, only 13% of women-led ventures seeking funding from angel investors secured capital).
We select our Pipeline Fellows based on a number of factors, including their interest in and commitment to social change. Most of them are active philanthropists who are eager to gain knowledge about investing and make empowered decisions regarding both their financial and social portfolios. Each Pipeline Fellow commits to invest US$5K for a collective US$50K investment in the woman-led social enterprise of the group’s choosing.
Interested in becoming a Pipeline Fellow? Applications for the 2011-2012 Boston- and 2012 NYC-based Pipeline Fellowship programs are now being accepted until Monday, August 29, 2011. To apply, go to: http://pipelinefellowship.producteev.com.
A. Lauren Abele is the COO of Pipeline Fellowship. Pipeline Fellowship aims to diversify the investor pool and connect women social entrepreneurs with investors who get them. Lauren holds a BA in English Literature and Environmental Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and an MPA in Economic Development and Comparative and International Affairs from Indiana University’s School for Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Follow her on Twitter at @laurenabele.