lundi 3 juin 2013
June 2013 - Editorial
Since 2005, PhiTrust Partenaires has been accompanying social entrepreneurs in their growth by providing them with financing as well as actively participating in the Board of Directors or Strategic Committees of the companies. The mission of these social enterprises is to address social challenges through the elaboration of financially viable business models that empower them in their strategy implementation. These entrepreneurs are able to reconcile within their businesses two generally-acknowledged opposed goals, that of providing social impact in addition to financial return (today or in the near future, depending on the maturity of the project).
This slightly ‘crazy’ vision of business that we have carried forward with our Investment Committee and the shareholders who have collectively placed their trust in us is now beginning to bear fruit. We have invested in some twenty projects in France, Europe and Africa, have assisted some of them to expand and be replicated in other cities/countries (our support has enabled Ethical Property to create ETIC in France, and Dialogue Social Enterprise to sign agreements in China, to name just two examples) thus demonstrating that these companies are now economically profitable businesses that can continue to grow within domestically or abroad.
This investment strategy could not be developed without proving our ability to exit investments and measure the social impact of the projects we support.
In 2012 we participated in two exists (a 50% refund of our equity in I&P Développement, a fund that invests in Africa, and a full exit of our stake in Veosearch/Durable.com). Our support was provided at a crucial stage in the growth phase of these companies, subsequent to which they were sold to either their managers or to new shareholders, in order to enable them to achieve scale.
We developed a new tool for measuring the impact of the companies that we support, in order to help them be more effective in their mission and empower us to report to our shareholders the real impact of these projects, with particular attention paid to their evolution over time.
Our portfolio has allowed us to observe that in today’s economy, it is possible to achieve both financial and non-financial objectives. This vision is echoed by the multitude of other social investors with whom we collaborate.
This would not be possible without investors, and while many initiatives are being developed to expand these social enterprises, with strong support from governments in many countries (there is dedicated public funding in France for this activity through the new Public Investment Bank and in Europe via the "Social Business Act" currently preparing its 2014-2020 european budget, with specific funding for social entrepreneurship).
Despite the lengthy time horizon required for these companies to achieve their objectives (several US social investors accurately refer to "Patient Capital"), they are in need of long-term financial and strategic support, just like any business, and we hope you will join us in supporting this wonderful adventure of social investment!
Olivier de Guerre
Chairman of PhiTrust Partenaires