Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 8- How’s the “Impact Nation” Transition Going? – Part 1

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In the past two decades, Israel has become almost synonymous with the term “Startup Nation.” We thought it might be worthwhile examining what’s new in the country’s transition to “Impact Nation” – and implementation of the UN’s SDGs.

The past year of crisis doesn’t seem to have slowed Israel down, including in the area of social impact. Perhaps the most dramatic development of the summer came when the CEO of a leading investment house here referenced his intention to move toward responsible investment policies vis-à-vis the environment and society. 

One organization that’s been there for quite a while now – Social Finance Israel (SFI), which deploys financing tools with the goal of solving social problems – continues to push ahead. For example, the organization recently launched its first (another is already planned) unique computer programing course with 25 Druze minority community participants to be placed afterward in high-salary jobs. This appears to be another great example of the cooperative model often found in Israeli social impact projects: the initiative is financed as a partnership between investors in an SFI career impact bond and the Economy Ministry’s Israel Innovation Authority, administered financially by the Koret Fund and carried out on the ground by the Appleseeds NGO (which promotes “technological equality” under the banner “Startup Nation for All”).

How's the "Impact Nation" Transition Going? -Part 1 - SDG 17 - Social Impact Israel
@The Israeli Forum for Impact Economy

Speaking of SFI, the organization recently issued an impact report covering its activities during the past 18 months. The enlightening document reflects the deployment of social impact bonds (and the newer career impact bond) in dealing with objectives ranging from enhancing math achievement among Bedouin youth (a partnership with the Education Ministry) to preventing elderly loneliness (in conjunction with the Tel Aviv municipality). SFI estimates that its six social impact bonds have saved public sector bodies about 97 million shekels.

SFI isn’t the only game in town, of course. Undeterred by global social distancing, the year-old impact tech investment organization GITA recently held a mostly Israeli-German “unconference” entitled “Finding the Others in Impact Tech.” The event covered such a wide range of issues we suggest you have a look yourself here

Another relatively new impact group here, the Israeli Forum for Impact Economy , actually was successful in bringing people into the same physical space at a recent event to discuss the group’s position paper on innovation, technology and impact (the encounter was followed by a subsequent Zoom discussion later in the week). The event took place at a familiar Tel Aviv site for Israel’s social impact community (2BHub) and was also attended by SFI’s CEO – perhaps taking on a wider role in the country’s impact community, as indicated by his new monthly newsletter (which includes this new SDG report from the Strauss Group).

Great to see so much happening!

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