Investors are seeking to work with more Indigenous owned and operated companies
June 9, 2021
We are going to reprogram money so that it stops acting like extraction and power imbalance and it starts acting like love and healing.”
– Paul Lacerte
Social impact investing has gone through a reckoning over the past decade. Small, social enterprises and multinational corporations alike are committing to building an economy that values inclusivity, diversity, and equity. As altruism becomes a driving force behind social investment, many Canadian companies are intentional about uplifting Indigenous Peoples and revitalizing the Indigenous economy. Take, for example, these four companies that invested in Raven Capital Indigenous Impact Fund.
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, or Vancity as it is commonly called, is an impact investor for Raven, and Canada’s largest community-focused credit union. Vancity is focused on moving its management assets to areas such as affordable housing, Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs, women-led enterprises, environmental issues, and health and wellness. As one of the founding members of Reconciliation Canada, Vancity believes in promoting social justice and building resilient, sustainable communities.
“Our commitment to reconciliation is supporting Indigenous communities. Raven has given us the opportunity to do that,” said Vancity’s Director of Impact Investing, Heather Conradi.
“Through the impact lens is a focus on diversity, whether that be women-led companies or support of visible minorities and BIPOC, people are becoming aware that diversity is important on all levels. Recognizing the Indigenous community as an area that warrants investment... there are great opportunities and bright entrepreneurs in that space.”
For Heather, investing in diverse workforces is how we can take back trickle-down economics and repurpose the phrase for good. The trickle-down economic system is an exploitative, harmful system that has had a negative impact on marginalized communities across the globe.
The Hamilton Community Foundation is the oldest community foundation in Ontario. The foundation has had a strong social mandate for over a decade and is one of Canada’s leaders in impact investment. Terry Cooke, President and CEO, is betting on Raven’s proven track record of success but recognizes that the foundation’s values are the starting point.
“We are all about respect, engagement, and trust,” Terry said. “What we saw was a committed group of leaders who recognized that part of our journey as a country, as individuals, and as a foundation, was to recognize Indigenous sovereignty. Not just cultural sovereignty, but economic sovereignty. To help unlock entrepreneurial talent that is abundant across this country and do it in a way that pays a social dividend, is what we’re all about and what Raven is all about.” He added, “in the case of Raven’s investments, there is a deep commitment to sustainability over the long term. Treating employees well, respecting the natural environment... I think that is a different and beneficial dimension for investors.”
Dragonfly Ventures is a social impact fund that believes in a healthy, clean and equitable future for Canadians. Being firm believers in a toxic-free Canada, Dragonfly has a deep reverence for how Indigenous practice and spirituality protect our natural environment.
Dragonfly recognizes that contemporary investment can be a by-product of momentum and trend, but they also believe that there are investors who value and genuinely align with Raven’s vision for creating a diverse economy.
“It’s hard today to see a successful, peaceful Canada that doesn’t involve a successful, vibrant Indigenous economy,” said Eric In, Dragonfly’s Director of Investment. “When we talk about reconciliation, there is no path if there is no shared success with Indigenous communities.”
Blair Miller, the Managing Partner of the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, is helping drive social impact across Canada.
“We believe that through our partnership with Raven, in our investment in Indigenous-led and Indigenous-owned companies, that we are helping to bring capital, ideas, network, and opportunity directly to the Indigenous community and fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
One of the key pillars of The TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good is to build more inclusive communities by addressing systemic issues with respect to access to capital.
“We believe this investment will foster the next generation of Indigenous entrepreneurs."
For investors, Raven seeks to combine a strong social and environmental impact statement and generate competitive returns. The Raven Indigenous Impact Fund is creating pathways into Indigenous communities, building critical relationships, and growing a large base of entrepreneurs and enterprises that are investment-ready. The fund is targeting a 6-8% (net IRR), 3-year investment period over a 10-year fund life.