$1 Million by 2020

Driving seed capital to early-stage social businesses
in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and 23 Native Nations

Is your Venture a Social Business?

(Or do you want it to be?)

Social businesses are businesses that have legally declared a social corporate purpose and require that their directors and officers continuously consider that purpose alongside of pursuing profit for owners. These companies pursue a “double-bottom-line” because they deliberately work to make money and a social impact at the same time. If this describes your venture, or if it might, then Venn wants to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions about becoming a social business.


Do you need seed capital?

Venn is all about Program-Related Investments (PRIs), which are below-market investments made primarily to advance charitable goals. PRIs can be a great financing option for social businesses, especially in the early phases of the “Valley of Death” when traditional financing is hard to find. Social businesses can leverage their future impact for PRI support from philanthropists before for-profit investors might be ready to join.

How does Venn work?

Using a special donor-advised fund called a "Venn Account", any individual or entity can recommend that Venn make PRIs with their tax-advantaged charitable donations.  Venn can syndicate any one PRI among any number of Venn Accounts.  Any financial returns from these PRIs go back to participating Venn Accounts for the donors to recommend redeployment into new PRIs or as grants to nonprofits. Social businesses and Venn work together to identify and engage donors in support of the PRI.


PRI Challenge Match

Thanks to the support of Bush Foundation, Venn has $250,000 ready to be deployed for up to 10 early-stage social businesses in our region. Venn will invest these funds on a 3:1* match basis at amounts between $15,000 and $50,000 per PRI.  For example, if a social business is selected for a $50,000 match and works with Venn to raise $150,000 from other donors as well, then Venn would make a $200,000 PRI to the social business. Our goal is to leverage this $250,000 commitment from Bush Foundation into $1 million invested in social businesses by 2020!

* As of June 10, 2019, we have increased the match to 2:1 basis. So now for every $2 raised from other donors, Venn will provide $1 from The Bush Foundation Venn Account to the same PRI.

Rolling Application

Venn accepts and considers applications from social businesses interested in raising PRI financing on a rolling basis all year long. There is no formal deadline. That said, only 10 companies will be selected to receive the matching funds from Bush Foundation’s Venn Account, and these decisions will also be made on a rolling basis. The earlier you apply, the better.


Have Questions?

We know this model and opportunity is new, and we expect questions will arise. Here are some resources to learn more: