30 June 2016

Social Finance and Impact Investing

On the day that Food and Beverage Ontario convened their annual meeting for the food cluster, the
Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity launched their latest paper on Clusters in Ontario: Creating an Ecosystem for Prosperity. The paper provides a good overview of the importance of clusters; these will figure prominently in the new innovation agenda, and rightly so. We have been supporting cluster development for several years through the Toronto Region Board of Trade. And the recently launched Tech-Access Canada featured discussion on how Technology Access Centers are important portals into local clusters, supporting resilient regional economies. 

Yesterday also saw Research Money convene the Future Finance and Social Innovation conference. This was an excellent discussion focused on social impact investing and social innovation. It was sponsored in part by SSHRC, who featured the College and Community Social Innovation Program, including GBC's professor Jaswant Bajwa's project, funded in the first round. We hosted the Honourable Kirsty Duncan's announcement of the second round announcement two weeks ago. It occurred to me as I listened to the many presenters, including CICan's Christine Trauttmansdorff (who provided a great overview of college applied research into social innovation) that college applied research is a great example of impact investing. When governments and our partners invest in applied research we engage students, and these students gain innovation literacy, all while while derisking social change and future-proofing economy. R$is commended for convening thought leaders on an important topic - clearly at the forefront of social innovation. 

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