An open letter to celebrate our 2nd anniversary

Laboratório de Investimento Social
“The celebration of this anniversary is complemented by a second motif of joy: today we launch the Portuguese Social Investment Taskforce’s website, available at grupodetrabalho.investimentosocial.pt

Two years does not feel like a long time.

Today we invite you to reflect about what were two years of commitment to our mission: developing innovative financial and non-financial mechanisms capable of mobilizing additional capital to social innovation in Portugal.

Before the 7th of October 2013, Laboratório de Investimento Social was a project idealized by an entity for whom we share the highest admiration and respect: the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. With its long-term vision, the Foundation made it possible to create the first social investment intermediary in Portugal, which would work in partnership with social organizations, public sector and investors.

We were born within IES Social Business School, which, with its agility and field proximity, allowed us to reach out to the main social innovators in Portugal and to get to know their main needs and difficulties in accessing proper financing. On the other hand, the credibility and pioneering knowledge of Social Finance UK was our important bridge to international best practices.

When talking about social investment, we refer to investments that aim to solve a social problem and may generate financial returns (or loss), depending on the associated risk.

In the last two years, the social investment market in Portugal went through a significant evolution. In this day of celebration, please allow us to share with you some of the moments we are most proud of during this period:

– Supporting the taskforce responsible for developing the proposal for the creation of Portugal Inovação Social, officially launched in December 2014;

– Launching the first Social Impact Bond in Portugal, aimed at improving school performance amongst primary students through coding classes;

– Launch of the SIB Research Programme, a 6-months programme focused on training master students to become social investment analysts, through the development of feasibility studies for Social Impact Bonds;

– Publishing the Portuguese Social Investment Taskforce’s final report in June 2015, which presents five final recommendations for the development of a social investment ecosystem in Portugal (since then Portugal went on to be invited to join a Global Taskforce led by G8 countries to discuss this topic).

None of these projects would have been as successful without the unconditional support of all our partners. We promote and work towards a convergence economy, and the successful partnerships that we have developed with representatives from the private, public and social sectors are excellent examples of this.

The celebration of this anniversary is complemented by a second motif of joy: today we launch the Portuguese Social Investment Taskforce’s website, available at grupodetrabalho.investimentosocial.pt 

What makes this website relevant is its approach based on total transparency. In it you will be able to find all content related to the 12 months of work: minutes, summaries, presentations, technical documents, results from real time voting, just to mention a few. In one word, Knowledge, so market stakeholders can make informed decisions.

We are aware that the biggest challenges lie ahead. The next years will be key in defining the approach of what we consider to be our critical success factors:

  1. Combining critical mass and conceptual influence with the ability to implement projects on the ground;
  2. Finding a pragmatic format of cooperation with the public sector;
  3. Ensuring favorable conditions to attract, manage and retain talent.

Our vision for social innovation in Portugal is about social entrepreneurs and effective initiatives in the field having access to adequate financing mechanisms that enable them to become more efficient, innovative and sustainable, in order to have a greater impact in society.

We want to express our gratitude and utmost commitment with all our partners in these last two years. A commitment that our success will be ultimately measured by the fulfillment of this vision and by our contribution to solving social problems in Portugal.

Always available,

The Laboratório de Investimento Social’s team

António Miguel, Joana Cruz Ferreira, Rita Casimiro, João Santos

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