Social Enterprise & Impact Investing

Published by
United Nations
  • March 8, 2021
Social Enterprise & Impact Investing

The combined resources of government and philanthropy alone are insufficient to solve the many development challenges of the twentyfirst century. Over the past decade, there has been growing recognition within the private sector of the need to take a greater and more active role in promoting sustainable development globally, through generating employment for youth, empowering women and tackling challenges related to energy, water and hunger. Corporations and investors understand the longterm benefits of contributing to development, and as such, initiatives to advance the sustainability agenda have gained strength in the recent past and will continue to play an important role in the future. However, in the quest for innovative ways to engage the private sector to bolster global sustainability further, a new approach has gained significant momentum in recent years. It is captured by two themes: • Social enterprise development, defined as creating and nurturing micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses that aim for positive social or environmental outcomes while generating financial returns; and • Impact investing, defined as the placement of capital (into social enterprises and other structures) with the intent to create benefits beyond financial return.1

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