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About

What’s our goal?

To help you access capital smarter and faster than before. So you can raise the capital you need and get back to your primary work – scaling your impact!

How do you build an investment guide for the world’s most ambitious social entrepreneurs?  

You start with the real-life experience of others like them. We scoured the planet for the best stories, insights, takeaways, and publications. We talked to entrepreneurs, investors, consultants, government agencies, and accelerators. We worked with entrepreneurs raising capital and captured the set of topics that most people need help with. The resulting tools are based on dozens of interviews and publications over CASE’s 15-plus years of engagement with social entrepreneurs and investors.

Here’s a sampling of organizations who have contributed directly through interviews or conversations, or indirectly through open source publications to content inside, or who gave us feedback by using Smart Impact Capital:

Acumen, Afya Research, Blue Dot Law, Changamka, Convenors.org, Elevar Equity, Enable Impact, Forus Health, Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI), Impactterms.org, Innovations in Healthcare, Investors’ Circle, MercyCorps, MIT D-Lab, Pomona Impact, Saving Lives at Birth, Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke, SOCAP, Spring, Sproxil, Unitus Capital, Unreasonable Institute, USAID, USAID Global Development Lab, USAID Global Health Bureau, Vaatsalya, We Scale Impact, Zana Africa, and MANY MORE.

What makes Smart Impact Capital unique?

Our tools and resources are based on current practices broader than what any single event or accelerator can offer you. We incorporate real-life experiences and hard won lessons from other entrepreneurs to make your fundraising journey easier and better.

  • Investors like Acumen, Investors’ Circle, Elevar Equity, USAID, and Unitus Capital share their expectations around growth, impact, and returns metrics.
  • Social entrepreneurs who have raised millions of dollars of impact capital share what really works in pitching, negotiating, managing your investors, and more
  • Our actionable tools help you prioritize the most aligned vehicles and investors for your venture
  • Our financial model template and guide empowers you to speak with confidence about the amount and type of funding you actually need, and change plans in real time
  • Tips, tricks, and resources help you connect with funders, manage the relationship, and close the deal
  • Access it all in bite-sized lessons that you can access from anywhere, anytime

Who’s behind Smart Impact Capital? 

Smart Impact Capital is a set of online tools produced by the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, with support from USAID.  The lead author of Smart Impact Capital is Cathy Clark, Faculty Director at CASE and a former impact investor.  Cathy is a leading authority on for-profit social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and impact assessment, and has worked with hundreds of global partners as part of her work with the CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing.

Additional authors and producers of Smart Impact Capital include Carrie Gonnella and Kimberly Langsam of CASE and social entrepreneurs Natasha Goldstein, Ellen Martin, and Alden Zecha.  In addition to these contributors, Smart Impact Capital has engaged with dozens of CFOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and other intermediaries to inform and develop the content and tools, including our pilot partners at SOCAP, Spring, Unreasonable Institute, MIT D Lab, USAID Saving Lives at Birth, and Investors’ Circle.  Video Production credits go to the incredible team within Fuqua Education Technology Services and Multimedia Production, notably Lucy Pless and Jason Van Sant.

Our impact:

After a year of beta testing with about 250 entrepreneurs in 13 countries, Smart Impact Capital formally launched in 2016 with several pilot partners, including SOCAP, which shared the online tools with the entrepreneurs receiving the SOCAP Social Entrepreneur Scholarship in 2016. The pilot partners are all organizations working directly with entrepreneurs, including accelerators, networks, and universities.

Findings from the SOCAP pilot partnership show that of entrepreneurs using the platform:

  • 95% reported improvement in their overall ability to raise investment capital
  • 85% reported an increase in confidence responding to investor questions about revenues, projections, and costs
  • 85% reported an increase in confidence in naming and justifying the amount and type of capital needed to adequately fund their company’s expansion

Read more about our results on the SOCAP blog.

Tell us: How has Smart Impact Capital helped you?

We now have hundreds of entrepreneurs around the world who have used these tools. We’d love to learn more from you about what works, what was really helpful and what we can do to make them even better. To tell your story or provide feedback, email us at CASESmartImpact@duke.edu.