Getting emerging social entrepreneurs loan-ready
Entrepreneurship of any kind requires bold action and ideas, and that is especially true for entrepreneurs focused on social change. These rising social innovators are passionate about developing services with the power to improve lives and reshape the world. But getting the funding to do it can be a barrier, particularly for women and people from underserved communities who face biases from lenders.
Moody’s Reshape Tomorrow™ partner Echoing Green is building a framework for fundraising and loan-readiness that creates new potential for more social innovators. Echoing Green identifies emerging leaders and invests deeply in their successes to accelerate the impact and longevity of their organizations.
Every year, Echoing Green welcomes a new class of fellows, equips them with leadership development tools and connects them to fundraising opportunities. Beginning in 2018, Moody’s began working closely with Echoing Green to develop a loan-readiness curriculum as part of the partner organization’s larger program. The curriculum delivers on needs that the organization’s fellows have expressed for years. The latest cohort of 69 fellows across the globe has been the first to benefit.
Entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the loan-readiness curriculum
“We are very excited to pilot this valuable tool,” says Leah Bloom, director of leadership development with Echoing Green. “It is revolutionizing the way we provide support to our fellows as they face the daunting task of raising capital. We are especially grateful to Moody’s for helping us develop tailored resources that help entrepreneurs learn about accessing loans.”
“We are very excited to pilot this valuable tool. It is revolutionizing the way we provide support to our fellows as they face the daunting task of raising capital.”
DIRECTOR OF LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, ECHOING GREEN
Structured for success
As innovators, social entrepreneurs are constantly breaking the mold. That is a good thing for societal change, but it also means they are thinking differently from many of their funders, whose bottom lines are often based on profitability. This divide can create a fundamental disconnect in communication and makes it even more difficult for social organizations to get the funding they need.
That is why the first segment of Echoing Green’s Leadership Development Framework guides fellows through a step-by-step process to securing some of the most common types of funding required for any successful business venture: investments, grants and loans.
Historically, Echoing Green fellows had expressed interest in leveraging loan capital, but since the organization began recording funds raised by fellows in 2012, no fellow reported loans during the term of their two-year fellowship.
Since launching the Moody’s-designed curriculum, two Echoing Green fellows have reported loans totaling $700K. These funds are being used by ClearFlame Engines (2019), who leveraged convertible notes to develop engine technology that completely eliminates the need for high-carbon diesel fuel, and BioCellection (2018) to recycle previously unrecyclable plastics.
With the assistance of our financial experts, the structure of the loan curriculum is bridging the communication gap between funders and social entrepreneurs. It’s also giving enterprisers the skills and information to successfully obtain funding and become leaders for social change. And in addition to expanded resources for the Leadership Development Framework, Echoing Green fellows have access to ongoing Moody’s mentorship through Reshape Tomorrow™.
Every social organization aims to have a positive societal impact, and with the support of Moody’s and Echoing Green, entrepreneurs are also learning how to have a profitable impact — to ensure their businesses thrive long into the future.