7 nominees. 6 judges. 1000 votes.
SocialFinance.ca recently announced the 2014 Social Finance Innovator Award winners at the Social Finance Forum. The Awards were created to showcase and celebrate the efforts that individuals and organizations are making to mobilize private capital for public good.
This year’s Social Finance Innovator Award theme, “Moving Money that Matters”, was selected to recognize the investors and impact ventures that are putting money where their mouth is and are making deals happen. And not only did the nominees demonstrate that they are moving money, but they are also creating real impact ranging from supporting food security in Sierra Leone to making capital accessible to Aboriginal entrepreneurs in Alberta.
And the winners are…
Winner – MEDA & Mountain Lion Agriculture
Founded in 1953 by a group of Mennonite business professionals, MEDA partners with the poor to start and grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world. This year MEDA invested in Mountain Lion Agriculture (MLA), a Canadian-Sierra Leonean rice processing company based in Sierra Leone. MEDA’s $500,000 investment into Mountain Lion Agriculture in July of this year was placed as debt that can be converted to equity by MEDA. MLA is the sole domestic supplier of branded rice products in Sierra Leone, currently operating a processing mill and an 100 hectare seed multiplication farm. With MEDA’s support, MLA is now implementing a smallholder out-grower scheme. This program will expand MLA’s unique business model to include 5,000 new Sierra Leonean famers, giving them the opportunity to rise out of poverty while enhancing the country’s own food security.
Runner-Up – SolarShare Cooperative
Since 2011, SolarShare has been enabling citizens to invest in solar energy generation throughout Ontario. As one of Canada’s leading renewable energy co-ops, SolarShare has been at the forefront of the social finance marketplace. Through its production of commercial scale solar energy installations, SolarShare offers Ontarians the opportunity to invest with impact. SolarShare’s Solar Bonds are an investment opportunity offering a 5-year term with 5% annual interest. This impact investing opportunity is unique given that most investments are generally only available to accredited investors.