by Stephen Whipp  | September 16, 2019

 

(originally appeared on: https://stephenwhipp.ca/impact-investing-at-the-grassroots/)

I believe that the truly sustainable society we are all trying to achieve requires an investment in community. I don’t necessarily mean the kind of investment that comes from a bank in the form of loans, but rather direct investment from people like us, contributing to the economic success of small companies. And when I say ‘small companies’, I’m talking local, small businesses, be they retail, manufacturing, food processing, agriculture, etc. There are a number of areas that we feel require extra capital to be successful.

A cornerstone of a sustainable society is affordable housing. Many of us have children who have completely given up getting into the housing market in the greater Victoria area because they just can’t make the numbers work. I believe we have a responsibility, as a society, to provide the range of housing conducive to healthy community development. Impact investing in the Vancouver Island Community Investment Co-Op (VICIC) and their grassroots project priorities, including affordable and seniors housing, is one of the ways to invest from the heart in Vancouver Island’s quality of life.

One of the things that we’ve often championed through our practice is that up to 5% of our clients’ investible assets be thoughtfully and carefully invested in what we would call ‘disruptors’ or ‘impact investments’. A disruptor is what we call a company that can have an impact beyond the size they are today. Tree Yogurt is a great example, and there are many others on Vancouver Island. We feel that it’s important for our clients to feel like they’re putting money into disruptors, and such investments may or may not be listed on a public market. If they aren’t, that makes it more difficult for most of us to invest, because of the regulations surrounding investments made by everyday investors in companies considered private. This is where the VICIC can help to overcome some of those barriers for interested Vancouver Islanders.

But no matter what the investment, it’s vital for people to understand the financial risks and whether or not they can handle them. One of the things we always cover with our clients when we consider investing in smaller companies is that you need to be prepared to possibly lose your money.  It’s always a good idea to consult with an advisor like us who can help guide you through this type of investment, and help you understand the particulars without actually making a recommendation.

Our ethical investing team supports the tenets of the community impact investment work being championed by the VICIC in affordable and seniors housing, renewable energy, and sustainable food and agriculture on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and are proud to be collaborating with them on a series of “I Invest Local” forums coming this fall.

Save a date to join the Stephen Whipp Financial team and community members, entrepreneurs and businesses, investors, non-profits and elected representatives to discover more about Community Impact Investment on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands at one of our upcoming “I Invest Local” forums:

  • Thursday, October 10, 2019 – Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney | 6:30 – 8:30pm
  • Tuesday, October 29, 2019 – Co-op Community Room, The HUB at Cowichan Station, Duncan | 6:30 – 8:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – Burnside Gorge Community Centre, Victoria | 12:30 – 2:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – University of Victoria, Cornett Building B112 | 3:30 – 5:30pm

For more information and registration for the event, please visit:  https://www.iinvestlocal.com

I think you will be surprised and excited by what’s happening in our local community investment space. See you there!

Investments in private companies or securities with no resale market involve a high degree of risk with little or no liquidity.  Investors should not invest any funds in these companies unless they can afford to lose their entire investment.