Of Belgian birth, Impact Now has also arrived in Italy thanks to LITA.co, startup of our community and the first European group for impact investing. Thanks to a tour through 7 cities in 3 months, it aims to offer training and opportunities for debate to those who work in companies offering a positive social and environmental impact. Fintech District has chosen to support Impact Now, explained to us in detail by Silvia Squarciotta, Manager of Impact Now Italia, and part of the investor relations team of LITA.co Italia.
What is Impact Now and what are its goals?
Impact Now is the first tour dedicated to impact investing as well as social and sustainable entrepreneurship. Organised in several cities, it brings together the protagonists of the impact ecosystem through training sessions dedicated to social entrepreneurs, speeches, roundtables on impact investing and a contest for the best business projects with a positive impact.
The tour is an idea of LITA.co, Europe’s leading impact investing group, which offers investment opportunities (through crowdfunding) in companies with a positive social or environmental impact, according to ONU SDGs. LITA.co is active in France, Belgium and, since 2018, in Italy too. The first edition of Impact Now was in Belgium where LITA.co perceived the need to gather all entrepreneurs, incubators, investors and institutions working every day for the development of a sustainable economy.
Since its first edition two years ago, Impact Now has achieved great results in Belgium allowing local entrepreneurs to meet with national and European networks of investors and business angels as well as offering a space for dialogue and open discussion. The latest Belgian edition took place from February to June 2019 in 5 major cities and it was the largest edition in terms of audience and success.
In Italy as in Belgium, we perceived the same need and wanted to implement this initiative in order to strengthen the synergies and collaborations between companies and investors that, in different ways, deal with social and sustainable entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs, startup incubators, academia, institutions and investors will see Impact Now as a new opportunity to deepen their knowledge, exchange best practices and collaborate with a common goal: long-term positive impact.
What is the program of the tour and how will each event take place?
From September to December the team and the partners of Impact Now will travel all over Italy, gathering in 7 cities: Catania, Rome, Naples, Florence, Bologna, Turin and Milan. In Milan, the winners of the Call for Impact will be awarded by the Partners.
Each event, taking place from afternoon onwards, is divided into two parts (registration is mandatory for both). In the first part, there will be workshops dedicated to entrepreneurs, to give them information and share programmes regarding incubation and acceleration promoted by local and national actors as well as best practices about impact measurement.
The second part is open to the public and includes many contributions: a keynote speech by experts in the impact sector, case histories of social entrepreneurship by B Corp companies or Ashoka Fellow entrepreneurs, a pitch competition for candidates for the Call for Impact and Impact Now Award. There will also be a roundtable on impact economy and investments with four speakers from different sectors who will share their experiences and discuss the opportunities and challenges of promoting and developing social entrepreneurship, sustainability and impact investments in Italy.
To whom is Impact Now addressed and why is it important to participate?
The tour is addressed at all – current and potential – impact makers: innovative startups, social and sustainable SMEs, social entrepreneurs, incubators and accelerators, foundations, banks, investment funds, business angels, impact investors, universities, public institutions and all citizens interested in impact economy and in discovering more about impacting investments. Seats are limited; therefore, we recommend subscribing for free to each workshop and event via Eventbrite.
We invite everyone to take part because in LITA.co we believe that it is important to make our part in the development of the community of impact makers. We also hope to enrich the discussions sharing our experience in the opportunities offered by equity-crowdfunding for the development of social and sustainable companies.
For startuppers and social entrepreneurs Impact Now will be an opportunity to pitch their projects in front of our partners, business angels and impact investors, curious to discover new talents. Impact Now is also an opportunity for individuals who are not yet familiar with investments with a social or environmental impact, to discover both new social and sustainable projects, and the opportunities offered by impact investing.
Call for impact: what are you looking for and what do candidates win?
This is a competition for all social entrepreneurs who can apply on the website and present their projects during the Pitch session of one of the 7 events. The prizes are offered by LITA.co and many partners of Impact Now. You can apply to be preselected to pitch in one of the 7 cities. Jury members will have until December to select the final winner. Each Pitch will be streamed.
Did you collect any best practices or interesting stories during your tour in Belgium? Which ones?
King Philip, who is very sensitive to sustainability and social entrepreneurship took part in the final event in Brussels and officially announced the creation of a national mapping platform for all companies and startups having a positive social or environmental impact, encouraging the inclusion of such companies in the market and developing new and profitable synergies and collaborations.
Many European financial institutions and networks of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and investors took part in the Belgian tour and this was one of the most important results, according to Céline Bouton, the founder of Impact Now in Belgium, who expressed her satisfaction to this regard.
A special thanks from the Fintech District should go to the LITA.co team, which brought an event to Italy highlighting issues that are important for us all.
According to Silvia Squarciotta, Manager of Impact Now Italy, Impact Now couldn’t exist without the strong support and engagement of the entire team:
Stefano Rossi, Country Manager of LITA.co Italy, who strongly believes in the Impact Now project, allowing LITA.co to get in touch with local social entrepreneurs;
Sonia Gennaro, Marketing Manager of LITA.co Italy, in charge of communication and press for Impact Now.
Giuseppe Fazi, Investment Manager for LITA.co Italy.