February Social Impact News Roundup: AI, Impact Investing, and the Human Side of it All

Alexandra Nemeth

Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Storytelling at MovingWorlds

In this month’s Social Impact News Roundup, we highlight:

  • AI for social innovation
  • Evolutions in impact financing
  • The human factor of sustainable transformation
  • Some exciting impact jobs from our network
  • Upcoming impact ecosystem events 
  • Exciting wins and updates from our TRANSFORM Support Hub social enterprises

Let’s dive into the details below:

Artificial Intelligence for Social Innovation

The World Economic Forum estimates that the potential value add of AI to the social economy is $308bn — a tremendous opportunity, if we can chart pathways to its responsible adoption in the context of social impact. That’s the focus of the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship’s new AI for Social Innovation Action Agenda, and on March 25th, we’re looking forward to the release of its latest report into AI’s universal potential to tackle diverse societal issues, drawing on insights from 300 social innovators spanning over 50 countries. Here are 5 examples of how AI can be put to use for creating and scaling positive impact – whether at the core of the operations of a social enterprise or as an enabler to grow their footprint. Considering implementing AI at your own enterprise? Here is a guide and framework based on insights from our network.

Evolutions in Impact Financing 

At its heart, impact-linked finance is about aligning the financial returns of investments with the social impact they generate. Unlike traditional forms of investment, where the financial return is often disconnected from the impact, this model ensures that financial rewards are directly linked to the achievement of specific, measurable outcomes. ILF incentivizes enterprises to deepen and accelerate their positive impact, in order to receive a financial reward. In practice, the more an enterprise creates impact (based on predefined metrics and conditions), the more financial reward it will receive from the catalytic funder (for example, SCBF or Social Tech Trust). ILF represents an evolution from traditional grant making – learn more about its numerous unique advantages here.

The Human Factor of Sustainable Transformation

Technology definitely has a role to play in sustainability, but according to Deloitte’s 2024 Human Capital Trends report, true sustainability requires organizations to create value for all people connected to them. Its research found that prioritizing human sustainability — the degree to which an organization creates value for people as human beings, leaving them with greater health and wellbeing, stronger skills and greater employability, good jobs, opportunities for advancement, more equity, and heightened feelings of belonging and purpose — can drive not only better human outcomes, but better business outcomes, too. Learn more about the human side of sustainable transformation in the full report here.

Social Impact Job Openings

Upcoming Events & New Programs

  • March 11: Deadline to apply to the Acumen Academy’s Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator program in East Africa. 
  • March 14: Join the TRANSFORM Support Hub at 8am PDT/3pm GMT as we explore how to encourage leadership from all levels of an organization. We will discuss what keeps leaders, managers, and teams from reaching their full potential with our special guest, Carol Squire. This is part of our Leadership Development Series, How to be Both Good Leaders and Good Team Players. Learn more and register here.
  • March 17: Deadline for enterprises working on education inequality in Asia to apply for the Changemakers for Education initiative
  • March 17: Deadline to apply to the AWS Space Accelerator: India, open to all Space startups, from prototype stage and above.
  • March 18: Deadline to apply to Greentech Europe 2024, An accelerator program supporting women-led greentech innovation in Europe.
  • March 19: Join Social Enterprise Alliance for a Coffee Chat on the topic of “Creating an Impactful Internship Program.” Learn more and register here.
  • March 21: The third annual World Sustainable Procurement Day (WSPD.) Learn more about how to get involved in the Social Procurement Champion program here.
  • March 27: Deadline to apply to the Bayer Foundation’s Women Empowerment Award and Accelerator, open to women entrepreneurs driving change in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa or the Middle East.
  • March 29: Deadline to apply to the Net Impact Circular Plastics Challenge, open to innovators with industry-shifting ideas to keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment.
  • March 30: Deadline to apply to the Cybersecurity Accelerator Program, open to B2B cyber startups working in AI, deep learning algorithms, blockchain, and/or 5G technologies with initial traction.
  • March 31: Deadline to apply to the Norrsken Accelerator, open to promising early-stage impact startups in any sector.

Congratulations to…

Help us congratulate these amazing social enterprises and social entrepreneurs who are part of the TRANSFORM Support Hub network:

A Final Bit of Inspiration

“I think what makes AI different from other technologies is that it’s going to bring humans and machines closer together. AI is sometimes incorrectly framed as machines replacing humans. It’s not about machines replacing humans, but machines augmenting humans.”

Robin Bordoli, partner, Authentic Ventures