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SOLVE (Solutions and Opportunities through Leadership, Vigor and Entrepreneurship) is a for profit “impact investing” venture fund which enables consumers, micro-venture capitalists, and foundations the opportunity to invest within social businesses in the start-up phase.  SOLVE only invests venture capital within social enterprises which have the potential to be replicated in other markets and come from disadvantaged social entrepreneurs, creating extended profits and exponential community change.

SOLVE is a registered Vermont  L3C and certified B Corporation

Mission

SOLVE  seeks to lower the barrier of entry for undeserved groups into the Social Enterprise field by offering venture capital to promising disadvantaged social entrepreneurs.

What are “Micro-Venture Capitalists”?

Crowd Financing is an approach to raising the capital required for a new project or enterprise by appealing to large numbers of ordinary people for small donations.  These ordinary people who provide the financing are micro-venture capitalists (MVC’s). Unlike traditional venture capitalists (VC’s), these MVC’s are typically not high net worth individuals, but through the crowd financing method can pool their financial resources together to have the same investment potential as traditional VC’s.

Who do you target for funding?

The SOLVE Venture Fund targets social entrepreneurs coming from the “base of the pyramid”( BoP ) like the urban poor, or individuals not even on the pyramid like the incarcerated.

OK, I want to invest.  How does it work?

The SOLVE Effect

Besides peer to business micro-investment, how does the SOLVE Venture Fund grow?

SEE-Store

Like most ideas, our big idea was simple.  We thought; why not use the wisdom of Timothy Ferriss and the automation business model to begin a social business?  Our on-line “SEE-Store” (Sustainable Enterprise Electronic Store) does just that.    We partner with organizations who are doing great things around our global community like; Sseko, Peace Oil, and Canned Water 4 Kids and lower their costs to reach new sales markets.  We then invest 50% of the profits into the venture fund. The other 50% is split amongst our employee cooperative.

Foundations

Foundations help SOLVE by giving directly to the SOLVE Venture Fund.  As a L3C, we are able to receive funds from foundations through the  PRI clause in the IRS Tax Code.  PRI or “program related investments,” are those that further a foundation’s tax-exempt activities. Foundations need only to request what type of  SROI goals  they would like to gain, and SOLVE directs those funds to a corresponding venture in our social portfolio.  Currently, in association with the Engaged University and other local partners, we are exploring investment opportunities directed at childhood hunger and obesity, urban farms, environmental justice,  and bio-diesel.

What’s next?!

  • We would love to hear from you!  Drop us a note if you’re interested in partnering, consulting, or interning at info@solvecoop.com .
  • Biodiesel in the inner-city blog post coming soon.
  • Video pod-cast “food deserts in Washington DC” coming in August
  • “Ghetto Vs Favela-Why  social entrepreneurs from the USA are choosing to launch international ventures over staying local” blog post (August)
  • Prison Social Business Plan Competition (TBA)
  • Website launch!  Sign up here for a sneak peek!
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