Canada-based communications and information technology company TELUS announced today the launch of the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, a $100 million social impact investment fund. The fund aims to invest in responsible and sustainable startup businesses that drive enhanced societal outcomes in health, agriculture, environment, and social and economic inclusion.
According to the company, the new fund will fuel greater social innovation in Canada through investments in companies that generate both financial and social returns benefiting our society. The fund will target early-stage companies, helping to scale businesses that aim to tackle societal challenges, deliver value to communities, and fuel economic growth.
Darren Entwistle, President and CEO, TELUS, said:
“The Pollinator Fund for Good represents the progression of TELUS’ social capitalism thesis, as we invest in entrepreneurs and prescient business models that share our belief that to do well as an organisation, we must do good in the communities where we live, work, and serve.
“This $100 million investment will accelerate potent, scalable and socially responsible services coming to market, helping to answer some of the most pressing challenges facing our world, including socio-economic inclusiveness. As one of the largest corporate impact funds globally, our TELUS Pollinator portfolio will improve health, environmental and food sustainability outcomes by investing in our next generation of innovators, leveraging transformative digital technologies, to advance TELUS’ promise of a friendly future for all.”
TELUS stated that the fund will focus on for-profit companies and founders in the following four areas:
- Transforming healthcare: Digital solutions that make safe and quality physical and mental healthcare accessible and efficient for all Canadians.
- Enabling inclusive communities: Startups building solutions to further social and economic inclusion and ensuring everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.
- Supporting responsible agriculture: Companies providing innovative technology-first solutions that empower the agriculture industry to improve Canada’s food systems.
- Caring for our planet: Companies and entrepreneurs building solutions to better the planet and reduce our environmental footprints.
In addition, the company announced three cornerstone partnerships for the fund, with companies and organizations including Canada’s largest microlending program Windmill Microlending, impact investment fund Rhiza Capital, and Tidal Vision, a US-based company that has developed a proprietary process for upcycling crustacean shells to develop a non-toxic, zero waste biopolymer.
TELUS said that companies receiving investment will benefit from a new advisory board of entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders with expertise across the impact areas currently being formed to advise on strategy, markets, and deal sourcing, as well as from TELUS’ depth and breadth of resources, including the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, TELUS’ Community Boards, TELUS Health, Sustainability, and TELUS Ventures.
Jill Schnarr, Chief Social Innovation Officer at TELUS, said:
“As a leading corporation in the world, we have an accountability to invest in new responsible businesses to ensure their success and impact. At TELUS, we boldly believe profit and purpose are mutually inclusive and we’re doing our part to support purpose-driven businesses that are addressing the needs of our communities today, as well as those we expect to be significant drivers of our economy for years to come.”
Blair Miller, Managing Partner, added:
“As a global leader in social capitalism, we believe that responsible business means purpose and profit go hand-in-hand. The investments made by the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good aren’t restricted to Canadian-based companies driving social innovation; it’s open to entrepreneurs worldwide looking to scale and grow their impact in Canada. We look forward to working with our partners and advisors to identify and support purpose-driven companies doing good around the world.”