Place-based Investing in Prince Edward County with Eoin Callan

In conversation with Eoin Callan, Executive Director of the Upper Canada Equity Fund and the Upper Canada Social Impact Fund, which are both place-based funds focused on investing in Prince Edward County.

SVX is delighted to be hosting the All-in Impact Gathering in the idyllic region of Prince Edward County (PEC) this October. In the lead up to this exciting event, we will be sharing the stories of some attendees, peer advisors, and expert coaches to give a taste of what the Gathering will entail.

Expert coach, Eoin Callan, will be joining the gathering in October as the local host and as a community network partner for the Gathering, and has a rich history of impact investing in the PEC region.

Q: You direct two place-based funds in Prince Edward County. What led you to this type of impact investing and what value do you see in place-based funds for the communities they reach?

I have been long persuaded by the view that asset owners can be drivers of change in capital markets, the economy, and in communities. Impact investing is simply one of the most direct ways to apply that model.

The value of place-based funds is that they reach deep into communities and, in doing so, engage a number of partners and stakeholders to magnify their impact. They have a great track record of leveraging additional resources. Typically for every dollar that a place-based fund is putting into a community, there’s around three dollars coming in alongside in the form of other private local capital.

Place-based funds identify rare opportunities that aren’t necessarily catching the eye of public markets, and then produce significant, deeper more meaningful social or environmental impact in the communities where they’re based. That can really transform communities in a way that make sense for people who live there.

Q: How have you seen Prince Edward County change since the introduction of the Upper Canada Equity Fund and the Upper Canada Social Impact Fund?

Both funds are trying to harness capital in a way that delivers significant social impacts locally while producing financial returns for investors. Since their implementation, we’ve seen the funds transform the local landscape in Prince Edward County. Initially, this was through very deliberate efforts to kick start innovation, such as by introducing sustainable food experiences and altering aspects of traditional agricultural sectors.

But we’ve since watched it take on a life of its own and absolutely thrive. Neighbouring communities continue to learn from our experiences and have begun to create a cool, local innovation ecosystem in which impact investors and place-based funds are playing dynamic and leading roles. Being so involved in it all has been really rewarding and I hope that the participants of All-in Impact in October can get a taste of it all when they come down in the Fall.

Q: SVX is delighted to be in the the County for the Gathering and to be partnering with UCEF for the event. As our local host, what value do you see for attendees in joining this unique event?

The Gathering in October in Prince Edward County is going to be a lot of fun — we’ll be close to a number of wineries, restaurants, and the quaint, walkable village of Wellington. It’s going to be an excellent chance to exhale, relax, and take in really beautiful surroundings by the water.

I think that the real value for attendees will be in the peer-to-peer conversations, and the development of those relationships among people as they take the first or next step in their individual impact investing journeys. These are relationships that are going to stay with people. Getting to spend this kind of dedicated time together, comparing experiences peer-to-peer, discussing the challenges and how to overcome them together, and sketching out next steps; these exercises and experiences are going to build everlasting bonds.

Upper Canada Equity Fund is also excited to be collaborating with SVX on this gathering because of the value we place on our relationship. We have such strong alignment in our values and shared end goals that we are working towards, which is very important to us. What makes it even better is that this event is backed up by deep and diverse financial market expertise, technical knowledge, community partners, and networks.

Q: Finally, as an expert coach, what are you most looking forward to at the Gathering yourself? And what does the concept of “all-in” mean to you?

I’m most looking forward to hearing stories and sharing stories. There are a lot of folks who are on somewhat similar journeys but are starting from different places. Each of us are still overcoming our own set of obstacles and challenges in our goal to commit to (eventually) go all-in on impact across our portfolio. So, hearing those stories and sharing those stories — that’s the part I’m most looking forward to.

“All-in” means we’re doing this. It’s for real, and it’s now. We’re persuaded, we’ve done the analysis, the due diligence, and established that it’s the right direction for our organizations, our communities, and ourselves. We’re going to do it and we’re going to do it together.

If you are interested in attending the All-in Impact Gathering in October, please visit the website here for more information and to register to attend. Spots are limited.

SVX is financial services firm & impact investing platform connecting ventures, funds, and investors to catalyze investment capital for impact. #ImpInv #SocEnt