Episode 56 Interview with Michael Norton, OBE, serial social entrepreneur

Michael Norton has had a prolific career in the world of social change. In 1975, Michael set up Directory of Social Change, the UK’s leading provider of information and training to the non-profit sector.  Twenty years later, he set up the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action. In 2000, he co-founded UnLtd, which supports social entrepreneurs.

Michael also co-founded the International Centre for Social Franchising and is also co-founder of Buzzbnk, an internet platform to enable the crowd-funding of social ventures. He is currently establishing a social investment find in the UK to invest at an early stage in emerging social ventures and he is encouraging and supporting social enterprise and better Corporate Social Responsibility in China, where he holds a Professorship at the China Global Philanthropy Institute.

In this interview, Michael talks about: michael_norton

  • The exciting role that foundations can play in funding social innovation
  • His plans for a new trust-based approach to social investment
  • The funding gap – and how to fill it
  • The right reason to measure impact
  • How social enterprises can enhance their impact

Episode 55 Interview with Rodney Schwartz, Founder of ClearlySo

Rodney is Founder of ClearlySo which works with high-impact businesses, charities and funds in the UK to raise capital, and introduces them to institutional and individual investors. ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, and has helped nearly 100 clients raise more than £108 million in investment capital by leveraging its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

Rodney held senior management posts at Lehman Brothers and Paribas, before founding the fintech venture capital firm Catalyst. A pioneer in this impact investment marketplace Rodney teaches impact investment at the Said Business School (Oxford) to MBAs and in the Executive Education programme.  He is a former Board Chair of Shelter, JustGiving and Spacehive, and holds an MBA and BA from the University of Rochester.

In this interview, Rod discusses: 

  • How ClearlySo funds social innovation
  • The funding landscape for social innovation in the UK
  • The role of foundations in funding social innovation
  • The funding gap for high impact low return organisations
  • The crucial role of teams in raising funds for social innovation

Episode 54: Interview with Stephen Dawson, OBE, co-founder of Impetus Trust- now Impetus-PEF- and Jacana Venture Partnership

Stephen Dawson is a pioneer in the field of venture philanthropy in the UK. A former venture capitalist, he was involved for 25 years with ECI, where he was until recently non-executive chairman.  

Stephen was a co-founder of Impetus Trust- now Impetus-PEF- the first British venture philanthropy organisation, investing in charities and social enterprises that fight economic disadvantage; he was also a founder trustee of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). 

Stephen was co-founder and chairman of Jacana Partners which was established to tackle poverty in Africa by helping build a venture capital industry.  He has received many awards for his work including an OBE for services to the voluntary sector in 2011.

In this interview, Stephen talks about: s_dawson

  • The rise of venture philanthropy in the UK
  • How venture philanthropy works
  • The growth and success of IntoUniversity
  • The importance of building a broad funding base
  •  The pain –and value- of the venture philanthropy due diligence process

Episode 53: Interview with Nithya Ramanathan, President and Co-Founder of Nexleaf Analytics

Nithya is the President and Co-Founder of Nexleaf Analytics, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, California. Nexleaf’s mission is to build, scale, and support wireless technologies and data analytics tools to measure the impact of public health and environmental interventions in the field.

Nexleaf’s is current focussing on key projects in supporting vaccine delivery in developing countries (ColdTrace) and evaluating the impact of improved cookstoves (StoveTrace).

In this interview, Nithya talks about: Nithya

  • Nexleaf’s work helping customers deliver impact
  • The big, neglected, question in social innovation: how do you fix things?
  • The importance of developing standard operating procedures for maintenance
  • Building win-win partnerships
  • Nexleaf’s approach to scaling

Episode 52 Interview with Ned Tozun, cofounder of d.light

Ned is the cofounder of d.light, a for-profit social enterprise that designs, manufactures and distributes solar lights and power products to the developing world; the company provides high quality light and cost savings to households, farms and small businesses.

d.light has developed a wide range of solar lighting products at different prices, from desk lights and portable solar lanterns to solar home systems that power radios and mobile phones; the d.light A1 is the world’s most affordable high-quality solar light.

To date, d.light has sold 13 million solar light and power products in nearly 60 countries, improving the lives of nearly 60 million people. According to the World Bank’s Programme ‘Lighting Global’, d.light has been listed as the leading solar lantern manufacturer.

In this interview, Ned talks aboutNed_Tozun

  • How d.light got started
  • The potential of solar energy in emerging markets throughout the world
  • How to think about scaling-from the very beginning
  • When  and how to look for venture capital
  • Where d.light has focussed its innovation efforts
  • Ned’s vision for the future