What makes someone believe in a potential idea, let alone invest their funds into it? Now, how about taking it a notch further and thinking of the impact that idea might have? This, in simple terms, is how impact angels essentially operate. The focus of each might shift, of course, yet the few main drivers essentially remain the same across the scale.
We are living in the day and age of change. Working towards pure profits with no social responsibility is not enough anymore. It has become “trendy” to care, to do better and to be better. This ideology truly echoes throughout all the industries: from the couture fashion houses to the food markets – everyone is slowly shifting their resources towards sustainability. Businesses and business owners are starting to realize the significance of their social and environmental impact; thus, now comes the era of breaking down the old patterns and learning to operate on a whole new level. The newly-founded start-ups are currently getting a chance to prove that investing in their idea is not only profitable, but also serves as a driving force for improvement and positive impact.
If old-school investors insist on toughness or even ruthlessness as the prime characteristics of business life and people, the new transformative entrepreneurship is not afraid to call for sensitivity and collective responsibility. It is understood that economy cannot be sustainable if we believe that there is no other way than everyone for him/herself alone. The planet will not survive if we persist in that mode. Sensitivity to others — to nature, other entrepreneurs, clients, customers, governance, social and cultural needs — is a better approach than trying to ignore overall impact and fairness, and externalise as many costs as possible. When more and more people thrive, everyone has more opportunities.
Ethical practices cannot exist without sensitivity — without the ability to recognize others’ experience, perspectives, needs and putting oneself in others’ shoes. As the world is constantly changing, so does the world of investing. Impact angels – investors, who focus on the bigger picture by funding the start-ups that align with their values are now gaining popularity. Naturally, one of the most fundamental reasons for impact investing is philanthropy. Investors seek out opportunities to broaden the entire chain of their impact, focusing not only on the return and increase of their investment but also making sure to “effectively multiply the impact of the dollar” as Angels of Impact state. Creating a measurable balance between the financial gain and the social impact has become a target that many investors are now shifting their focus to. According to the Impact Investment Group, more and more businesses are leaning towards the value-aligned opportunities.
What could this possibly mean for the future of investing and business development? The idea of impact investing by itself is not an entirely new concept, it has been around for decades. However, the difference that we are seeing now is the attitude and the true optimism of the investors that believe in the possibility of businesses being a powerful tool that can be harnessed for the good and not a necessary evil (Bugg-Levine & Emerson, Impact Investing). Small changes can often be of great significance when multiplied on an individual and corporate level. Impact angels in one way or another have a chance of shifting the narrative towards a greater future. Despite the fact that the direct effect of impact investing is still to be proven as truly impactful, it is still a small step towards making potentially better choices. The expression “put your money where your mouth is” is now truly being put to the test by the impact angels.