The impact ecosystem is expanding, and while local and regional ecosystem mapping efforts — such as UnLtd USA’s Austin Social Entrepreneurship Network Map, Cogent’s Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem Map, and Root Change’s Global Impact Investment Map (GIIMAP) of the impact investment community in Mexico and Central America — have taken shape in the past few years, a new wave of mapping initiatives are sprouting that enable leaders to better understand and navigate the larger impact ecosystem. Here are a few of those such resources that will help you see the big picture and connect the dots in between.
1. ANDE’s Mapping the Ecosystems
A great place to start is the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)’s collection of mapping projects that identify the actors, gaps, and opportunities in social entrepreneurship. Launched in 2016, their Mapping the Ecosystems website provides a list of ecosystem mapping resources and an ecosystem diagnostic toolkit that maps and measures the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Check out the site here, and explore the site’s other resources that support a social entrepreneur’s journey.
2. Accelerator Selection Tool
Working in partnership with leading databases and impact accelerator networks, capacity-builder Conveners.org has developed the Accelerator Selection Tool, which maps the global impact accelerator landscape, helping social entrepreneurs easily find information that best fits the needs of their ventures, while providing data about social entrepreneurs and market trends to accelerators and investors. The tool is set to launch later this month; sign up for this Accelerators newsletter to get information when it launches.
3. Impact Investing Network Map
Informed by open source data and developed in partnership with the Case Foundation, this online map is an informational aid designed to help map the existing impact investing landscape. According to its website, the the Impact Investing Network Map “aims to present the best publicly available information on impact investments to better inform the sector.” The interactive online tool allows you to search for companies and investors based on the investment objective, industry, geography, certifications and more.
4. Good Capital Project
A SOCAP Group collaborative, the Good Capital Project (GCP) is mapping the ecosystem through convening. A two-year project focused on generating innovative and sustainable solutions to align the capital markets with the human needs of tomorrow, the GCP convened a broad range of impact leaders in June 2017 in New York City to begin to drive greater collaboration and accelerate capital flows into purpose-driven investments. Go here to learn how to get involved.
5. Mapping the Mappers
The organization behind the Accelerator Selection Tool, Conveners.org has also organized Mapping the Mappers, a network of impact mappers that raises awareness of global impact mapping efforts, identifies opportunities for mapping coordination, and creates the foundation for data-driven collaboration that benefits the entire impact ecosystem. Sign up here to join the next Mapping the Mappers to learn how to contribute to current ecosystem mapping initiatives.
Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, impact investor, funder, or part of a support program, these mapping efforts not only provide valuable information on the current impact ecosystem, they also provide a helpful dose of perspective on entrepreneurial success and impact.
Nayelli is the Founder & CEO of Creators Circle, a nonprofit working to close opportunity gaps for future generations of impact changemakers. A trained journalist with an MBA, she also keeps the pulse on sustainable business and social impact trends and has covered these topics for a variety of publications over the past decade. She’s a systems thinker who loves to learn, share knowledge and help others connect the dots. Follow her on Twitter @NayelliGonzalez.