Why a Social Investment Program in Turkey?

Despite considerable economic progress in recent years Turkey faces significant social and environmental challenges, for example, in the area of education, gender equality, employment, environment or social cohesion.

Organizations that place social and environmental impact at the core of their business models have started to address some of these challenges in innovative and entrepreneurial ways. However, in the broader public perception these entrepreneurs are often misunderstood as traditional charities or viewed as extended corporate social responsibility projects. They fall through the cracks of existing policy frameworks, support systems and financing strategies. 

Research at Sabancı University confirms that social ventures in Turkey consider access to financing one of their main concerns and many are interested in exploring new modes of financing. Furthermore, they look for collaboration and networks with international players, private sector or municipalities. Despite this interest, there is still little activity and capital made available by social investors in Turkey. Corporations find it challenging to identify suitable and competent organisation in the social sector to advance their social responsibility agenda. And there is still little collaboration across traditional sector boundaries.

Both private sector organizations, financial institutions and individuals are showing a rapidly growing interest in the emerging social investment field seeking to align their business and investment strategies with their personal values and commitment to social progress.   

The Social Investment Program at Sabancı University aims to address these needs and strengthen the emerging social investment eco-system in various ways:

It strengthens the capacity of social ventures to scale their impact, take their organization to the
next level; attract financial and non-financial resources for social impact and build partnerships; 

It introduces (aspiring) social investors and social impact professionals to the world of social
investment and trains them to deploy capital and support for social impact in more effective ways;

It creates a strong community of social impact professionals across traditional boundaries and
contributes
to raising awareness of this emerging field in Turkey.