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Going Beyond Capital

By Charlotte Ward, Managing Director - Portfolio and Investments  |   Posted 22nd September 2020

Bridging innovations from pilot to scale requires more than just the patient, fit-for-purpose capital GIF provides. Effective organisations must develop internal processes and systems, increasing operational efficiency as they prepare for scaling and ramp up growth. Similarly, building the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties is crucial, as the effect of covid-19 has most recently shown.

To provide adequate support, long term impact investors must understand the needs of portfolio organisations, identifying issues that require addressing and together finding solutions, enabling reactive and proactive support for scaling impact through sustainable growth.

Additionally, weighing the cost and impact of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is increasingly important as the valuing of social rights, corporate governance and environmental assets is increasingly factored into decision making by investors, consumers, governments and businesses. Building organisational capacity, therefore, is critical to enable definitive action on ESG criteria, preparing companies for opportunities for growth and future investment.

GIF seeks to support our portfolio in a way that also goes “beyond capital,” with a focus on deepening social impact, sharing learning and evidence, and driving enterprise and value creation.

Through a shared interest with our portfolio partners to improve the lives of the poorest and lead through evidence, GIF uses in-kind venture support in the form of guidance from GIF staff and, occasionally, highly restricted grant funding to optimise the impact of our investments.

This strategy allows GIF to attend to extreme needs whilst also facilitating long-term value creation.

GIF starts by engaging closely with the portfolio companies and organisations directly or where needed appoints advisors and consultants to address specific strategic issues including the use of data and knowledge products, evidence generation, impact measurement and beneficiary/customer feedback and analytics.

All aspects of venture support should prepare investees for the future whilst safeguarding against immediate risks, to protect and optimise the impact they set out to achieve.

Because no impact investor can fulfil every support role needed by investees, we must deliver value creation that takes full advantage of the diverse strengths of GIF’s team, external expertise and partner network, across our office network in London, DC and regional hubs. Our networks span multiple sectors and across development, policy, public sector, finance and philanthropy.

Our deep expertise on development and social issues, corporate governance and organisational development help enable portfolio partners align organisational structure, culture, strategy and performance with sustainable growth and social impact.