It’s been over 30 years since a raucous group of misfits first got together to talk about a new approach to business. Impatient with an economic model that valued growth above all else, they sought to understand how their ventures might support communities, rather than dismantling them, regenerate landscapes, rather than devastating them, and create equitable prosperity for all, rather than concentrating wealth in the hands of a privileged few.
Those early luminaries built enterprises that showed how social purpose and financial success reinforce each other. They worked across sectors—in business, government, academia, and charities—to create a powerful network that shares a vision of a new economic model. The network is still growing, and now a global community of investors, entrepreneurs, and their allies are changing the way the world does business.
Established in 1987, Social Venture Network (SVN) was one of the nation’s first and most influential peer organizations dedicated to demonstrating the ‘triple bottom line’ potential of valuing people, planet, and profit. Through yearly gatherings, peer circles, and structured mentoring, SVN has both provided inspiration for new ventures and helped incubate other key contributors to the social venture community including BSR, B Corp and ASBC.
Created in 1992, with founders including SVN leaders, Investors’ Circle (IC) was the nation’s first and most active early stage impact investing network. Over the past 25 years, IC has facilitated over $236m in investments in 300+ social ventures, addressing environmental, health, education, economic development, and other societal challenges. IC has cultivated community among individual angel investors, family offices, funds, and foundations; attracted and vetted early stage impact entrepreneurs; and facilitated investment through national and local convenings with a growing focus on building and connecting regional impact investing communities.
On January 1, 2018, SVN and IC merged forces to better equip entrepreneurs, impact investors, and capacity-builders with the resources they need to galvanize business as a force for good. With their combined experience, extensive networks, and shared vision, they merged to form Social Venture Circle to lead the way into the next economy: one that is regenerative, equitable, and prosperous for all.