New platform promotes ‘impact investment’ in Puerto Rico
Platform for Social Impact (PSI), a nonprofit that seeks to promote investment that supports social transformation projects while generating economic return for the investor, is launching today, with a lineup of six businesses that could benefit soon.
The nonprofit has $1 million available for what is known as “impact investment,” with the goal of focusing on organizations that address health, poverty, and education at the community level. That funding will be split among a total of 20 businesses that will be chosen in the next 12 to 18 months, organization officials told News is my Business.
“The first step is to identify investors that are compatible with the social impact that you want to achieve and investors that are global, many of them have already defined what their investment profile is,” said PSI CEO Eduardo Carrera.
“In our case, we’re looking for investors who want to attack the issues of poverty, health and education. The first thing that is done is to scout and identify that there is alignment in terms of values,” said Carrera.
PSI is mirroring similar models successfully implemented around the world that follow the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations to provide “global stability” by 2030.
The platform connects social impact investors from Puerto Rico and abroad with initiatives focused on job creation, entrepreneurship, and health. In addition, it manages social impact investments for these projects and communities.
“This impact investment mechanism is not common in Puerto Rico. Traditionally, community initiatives rely on philanthropy, whether funds or goods provided directly to organizations, communities, or individuals with limited impact over time or by types of services,” said Carrera.
“In theimpact investment model, the participation of investors is designed to cause a multiplier effect with long-term benefits and a much broader scope,” said Carrera, who for the past 20 years has held several positions, including CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, Vimenti, and the Youth Development Institute, all now affiliated to the platform.
“It is a step forward for the local ecosystem to eliminate the concern of local entrepreneurs and co-investors that investments in Puerto Rico can receive investors outside of Puerto Rico as well. This is direct investment,” said Carrera.
“The other part that the platform has is the activation of the network around it that we believe in investing in a different way, that has the mission of the goals of the United Nations,” said Carrera.
The platform has initially identified six businesses that meet its requirements:
- The Business Capital One Stop Shop by Causa Local: Digital platform to facilitate and amplify the supply of small loans and other methods for start-ups to access capital;
- MarePesca: Fish production farm (red snapper) in aquaculture tanks, with the aim of managing the environmental impact of overfishing, addressing food security, and creating jobs in disadvantaged coastal communities.
- Panorama Farm: Development of an existing farm and new products with a vision of environmental awareness.
- Ad Astra Media: Multimedia company that produces content (books, educational materials) for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) teaching, focusing on representation and inclusion of ethnic and racial diversity.
- Women and Mothers Reborn Inc. (MUMAS): Bamboo fiber women’s underwear sewing company.
- Promov: Geolocation advertising service available shared transportation services units like Uber.
PSI will invest another $41 million in a center for families that includes a school, a health center and a job and business development area.
The platform is the majority partner of the first VidaLús location, which is a concept of community clinics being developed throughout Puerto Rico.