The Solution Finance Accelerator, whose first cohort ran from 2020-2021, contributes to a vision of a vibrant social finance marketplace with efficient and effective investment capital flowing to social and environmental development at scale. The SFA aims to expand the Canadian social finance marketplace by supporting a group of impact investing intermediaries to develop and launch their funds. These organizations are disrupting the traditional means of structuring their business models, be it by leveraging technologies or applying new financial mechanisms to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This series profiles the nine participants supported through the Accelerator.
The Fair Finance Fund
The Fair Finance Fund (FFF) is a non-profit social finance fund dedicated to providing loans and mentorship services to Ontario food and farm enterprises that value strong local food systems, local economies, and a healthy planet. They provide community-minded investors – be they individuals or institutions — an opportunity to invest their capital in social enterprises that grow, raise and process food in their own communities.
“Our fund helps Ontario food and farm enterprises provide significant solutions to climate change by supporting them to implement a variety of sustainable farming and production practices. Our fund is a vehicle for people to invest in their beliefs: it not only helps to provide solutions for climate change, but also prioritizes support for female-led and owned, BIPOC and Indigenous-led businesses. We are proud to say that over 70% of our loan clients are led or owned by women.”
– Sally Miller, Fair Finance Fund Project Manager
What is the Fair Finance Fund?
The Fair Finance Fund is an opportunity for investors to fight climate change and help build local food systems in Ontario. It supports organizations across the food supply chain: from production to waste redirection. By providing loans to local social enterprises, the FFF helps strengthen and expand the Ontario food systems and helps improve rural economies by creating jobs and circulating more money in local communities. The fund also increases equitable access to capital for food-based social enterprises and supports food and farm enterprises that offer social, environmental and community benefits.
How does the fund work?
- Through both non-repayable contributions and private and institutional investments, the FFF provides loans of up to $200K over five years to local food and farm social enterprises.
- Investors are offered community bonds which go towards providing loans. When investees pay back the principal from their loans, it is returned to the fund’s investment pool so that more local social enterprises can access loans.
- All of the fund’s operational costs are funded through loan interest payments and grant contributions, as a means of ensuring that as much capital as possible is invested in the local community.
Solutions Finance Accelerator highlights
- The FFF has grown significantly in 2021 and has placed nearly $1 million in loans. They are currently preparing a new round of funding.
- To help organizations address pandemic-related challenges, the FFF has expanded their REAL Assist mentor program which provides guidance and technical assistance to loan clients or any other Ontario food and farm business.
- The FFF has made diversity, equity and inclusion a priority, working with Social Economy through Social Inclusion Coalition (SETSI) and others to increase the Fund’s reach to marginalized communities and increase diversity within the organization.
Learn more about the Fair Finance Fund