Purpose-driven social investors with societal and ROI goals
Impact & Main Inc. was founded in 1992 as the St. Clements Group Inc. and has grown from a one person operation to a core team of six with a roster of a dozen SMEs (subject matter experts). We are social investors using our inspiration, time, and resources to make societal change while making a profit. Impact & Main and its E-Town programs is a private sector profit-oriented business. But because we are part of the purpose-driven sector, we mix a variety of not-for-profit and private sector goals, city building tools, financial expectations…all influencing the way we work with our project communities.
A philosophy, an attitude, and a set of tools
The team brings a philosophy, an attitude, and a set of tools to re-inventing the towns and cities we work with. Our philosophy has to do with maximizing two facets of living — lives and livelihoods…life and business. To be successful, communities need to work on both sides of the equation together.
When it comes to the attitude we bring to our communities and projects, we are implementation bent. Undoubtedly strategizing and research are important but without implementation or equal time given to the way the plans are going to be implemented, it really isn’t anything more than an academic exercise. And implementation without actual operational experience running businesses, having P&L responsibilities, and experiencing the rejoicing (and suffering!) of the day-to-day successes of an enterprise is nothing more than theory. That is why you will see so many operators in the Impact & Main people…people who know what it actually means to run a business.
And lastly, when it comes to tools, we have over the years designed, experimented, and worked with a variety of tools that we know work and work well. You’ll see in the programs we are working on that we look to create economies of scales. While each program has local and national components, our work looks to create replicable models. This allows communities that are part of a program to take advantage of the learnings of other communities. At the same time they can customize their own project to ensure it is responsive and reflective of their communities’ specific needs. Those tools help us get the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to rolling out projects, makes the programs compelling to outside investors, and creates operating efficiencies.
A word about our social impact investors
Many of our projects work with social impact investors who look at ROI from both a financial and societal returns point-of-view. They’re part of a new international social financing wave. This new way of thinking about investments requires equal weight be given to financial returns and social, economic, and environmental outcomes. One without the other is not good enough. Our social impact investors come from a variety of sources including: “high net worth individuals” acting as angel or early stage investors; foundations which align their investments with their organizational values and missions; credit unions and banks with social impact mandates; community financial organizations such as community loan funds, religious organizations, cooperatives, and pension funds; and governments and their agencies.