Sir Richard Branson Announces Partnership with MaRS

MaRS and Virgin Unite Canada, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, announced today that they have joined forces to support Canadian entrepreneurs tackling social and environmental challenges.

Today, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder was at the MaRS Centre to announce the new partnership, which includes the development of a new, national impact venture fund.

The fund has $1 million in seed capital provided by Virgin Unite Canada and the Vancouver-based Mindset Social Innovation Foundation, founded by Alison Lawton.

The impact venture fund, managed by the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, will invest in early-stage for-profit companies with a core social and/or environmental mission, measurable positive impact and the potential for strong financial returns.

“I strongly believe that entrepreneurs have a key role in tackling environmental and social issues with solutions that will last for the long run and help create jobs,” said Sir Richard. “Our partnership with MaRS will support inspiring entrepreneurs with the mentoring, training and investments they need to succeed.”

On top of the initial investment from Virgin Unite and Mindset, the Fund has secured additional commitments of $500K. MaRS will continue to fundraise, up to a total of $5 million, in 2015.