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 Saint John Community Loan Fund (newly rebranded as Kaleidoscope Social Impact)
The Saint John Community Loan Fund (SJCLF) — newly rebranded as Kaleidoscope Social Impact — is a multi-service community economic development organization working in social finance, self-employment training and real estate. Since launch, the SJCLF has trained more than 5000 people in financial literacy and entrepreneurship, made over 270 loans which have helped start 165 businesses. They have invested over $3 million in social purpose real estate, and currently own three buildings used by social purpose organizations and they are designing a fourth.
“We have provided investors with an impactful and reliable way to improve the lives of individuals in the Greater Saint John area and to rejuvenate local neighbourhoods through entrepreneurship and real estate investment. We are excited to expand the impact area to include the Province of New Brunswick, and eventually to other Maritime provinces,” says Seth Asimakos, General Manager and Co-Founder.
The SJCLF Impact Fund
The SJCLF was originally designed as a microfinancing organization to help individuals in Saint John facing barriers to employment create their own earning opportunities or re-enter the workforce. Now, in addition to providing those loans, and to a wider population, the SJCLF also provides skills training, and invests in social purpose real estate that helps provide affordable housing and office space for social purpose organizations. With this combination of programming, focused on people with employment barriers, women entrepreneurs and the unhoused, the SJCLF plans to advance the SDGs related to poverty, gender equality and decent work, economic growth in the region, as well as sustainable cities and communities.
How does the Fund work?
- The SJCLF IMPACT FUND has three portfolios: (1) BUILD NB – real estate (affordable housing and commercial non-profit spaces), (2) LAUNCH SOCIAL – social enterprise and entrepreneurship, and (3) MICRO-WORKS – micro-finance for individuals to create self-employment.
- The FUND receives investments from individuals, foundations and municipalities and provides them with a return of up to 2.5%.
- The SJCLF IMPACT FUND uses a flexible funding model that can provide a wide range of financing, including: revenue based financing, construction financing, and equity. Financing can be as low as $1000 and up to $250,000, with rates starting at 5.5%. Clients are individuals, social enterprises, and developers.
Solutions Finance Accelerator highlights
- Completed and improved the fund’s financial model, operations and workflow.
- Leveraged an additional $500K in working capital and loan funds, which will allow for more investments in the community.
- SJCLF is developing outcome measurement tools to track how investments are helping to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
- The SJCLF went through an intensive re-branding exercise and unveiled its new identity in November 2021.
A note from Seth Asimakos, General Manager and Co-Founder:
We’ve grown from where we started in 1999.
In 1999, we were a small community loan fund, lending to individuals to help them start a business or get back to work. Today, we manage three major activities: social finance; skills training; and social purpose real estate. Our dedicated team uses these different tools to assist in building inclusive, vibrant communities. It is this kaleidoscope of people, ideas, and outcomes that gives us our new name: Kaleidoscope Social Impact. We hope you like it.