7-Step Framework to Global Early-Stage Impact Investing

This press release was originally published on CSRWire, a digital media platform for the latest news, views, and reports in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. This press release is submitted by Toniic LLC, an action-oriented impact investor network. 

Impact investing in early-stage enterprises, although challenging, can be extremely rewarding and potentially provide both financial and social or environmental returns. It allows investors to improve the lives of the poor or vulnerable—locally and globally—while providing a return on capital. Yet few comprehensive guides exist for investors.

To help navigate this opportunity, the Toniic Institute—in collaboration with Duke University’s CASE i3—has released a first-of-its-kind online primer, the “Toniic E-Guide to Early-Stage Global Impact Investing.” Production of the guide was made possible by a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation.

“Our members view early-stage impact investing as a critical pillar in a holistic investment strategy. Yet no guides currently exist for new or potential investors,” said Stephanie Cohn Rupp, CEO of Toniic, a global network of impact investors in more than 20 countries. “This publication was written specifically to make it easier for interested investors to deploy their capital in support of early-stage social enterprises, by sharing active impact investor stories and consolidating the established resources and organizations which support this space.”

Sourced from the experiences of the Toniic Network’s member investors, this e-guide is a fundamental reference for anyone seeking to understand how to successfully invest at the early stage for both a financial return and social or environmental impact. The guide includes:

  • A brief overview of impact investing;
  • A detailed “7-Step Framework, based on feedback from global impact investors starting with developing your own investment strategy;
  • Four case studies that explore enterprise development and the types of capital and resources accessed; and
  • Regional guides that illustrate legal and practical challenges in six major regions across the globe, including lessons learned and peer contact information.

Elizabeth Littlefield, CEO and President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), on Toniic’s e-guide: “Toniic’s very valuable e-guide has the tools to start or enhance your investment strategy, whether your goal is to build value close to home or around the world.” Many experts in the sector of impact investing are endorsing the e-guide: Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of Big Society Capital, Jed Emerson of ImpactAssets, and the World Economic Forum to name only a few.

Co-author Cathy Clark, Director of CASE i3 at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, on early-stage impact investing: “Early-stage is a particularly important and rewarding time in the life of an enterprise for an investor to contribute both key capital and expertise. When a social enterprise is pre-revenue or just beginning to earn revenue, the groundwork is laid for the company’s customers, business model, impact thesis—or its theory of change about how it will create social value— and overall sustainability. This unique period holds tremendous potential for an investor to achieve impact.”

Zia Khan, Vice President, Initiatives and Strategy at The Rockefeller Foundation: “This e-guide from Toniic provides vital information to help those looking to invest in social enterprises that benefit the poor or vulnerable. The diverse case studies contained within this guide come from around the world, and demonstrate the power of layering grant and investment capital to propel the impact investing industry forward. These examples bring valuable perspective from those working on the frontline, and show impact investing in action.”

View the PDF report by registering at http://www.toniic.com/toniic-institute/early-stage-e-guide/.

About Toniic
Toniic is a global network of action-oriented impact investors – both individuals and institutions. We increase the velocity of money and services into impact investing to address global challenges. Our members commit to discover, evaluate, nurture and invest in entrepreneurs, enterprises and funds that promote a just and sustainable economy.

About Toniic Institute
The Toniic Institute is a 501(c)3 entity that manages Toniic’s work on research and advocacy in the impact investment field. Toniic Institute’s mission is to make relevant original knowledge and materials available for impact investors in order to broaden the field of impact investing and deepen understanding amongst impact investors and social entrepreneurs.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunity for more people in more places worldwide, and to build resilience by helping them prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Throughout its 100 year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has enhanced the impact of innovative thinkers and actors working to change the world by providing the resources, networks, convening power, and technologies to move them from idea to impact. In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address the emerging challenges facing humankind through innovation, intervention and influence in order to shape agendas and inform decision making. For more information, please visit 

About Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business CASE i3
CASE i3’s mission is to establish a rich set of resources and activities for MBA students, entrepreneurs, investors, funders, academics, and policymakers to explore and support the field of Impact Investing over its critical period of development over the next 5-10 years. CASE i3 is part of 
CASE (Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship), the award-winning research and education center based at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which promotes the entrepreneurial pursuit of social impact through the thoughtful adaptation of business expertise.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: +1.415.692.0630
Twitter: @StephCohnRupp

Lisa Kleissner, Co-Founder
Phone: +1.415.952.6147
Twitter: @lisa_kleissner