Thanks to the recent barometer conducted by our close strategic partner FASE and also Ashoka Social Finance Director Mark Cheng’s insights, we want to offer some insightful perspectives on the views, ideas, and new measures from impact investors as well as some key recommendations for social entrepreneurs during the global pandemic.  In this blogpost, we want to share our insights with you.  

The good news:
Even though many impact investors expect a decrease in the overall impact investing within this year, they remain positive and hopeful and many of them continue their investment levels.

Sectors that look very promising over the next period are:   

  • health & wellbeing
  • food & agriculture
  • education & employment
  • services & technologies sectors are preferred by institutional investors.

Social Finance opportunities in these times

Indeed, Mark Cheng, agrees with FASE’s barometer and adds that interest from impact investors will grow for such defensive sectors like healthcare.  

Furthermore, Mark explains that “Social entrepreneurs raising investment with a plausible COVID-19 story, are actually finding it easier to raise capital right now.” A social entrepreneur in our network said that she’s been approached by several investors without soliciting, just because they are looking to move funds towards Covid-19 solutions and projects.

In addition, according to Mark, any social entrepreneur with a Covid-19 related product or service can probably raise grants. Healthcare social entrepreneurs can probably also raise investment as well, and there are funds actively looking for such ventures (please see Covidcap Website:

Risks for Social Finance due to Covid-19:  

Some points of attention and worries highlighted by FASE’s barometer, are the potential higher default rates due to business interruptions, cash constraints and other external factors. Fortunately, emergency solutions are already being put in place by various impact investors for the ventures affected by the crisis. And, there is increased funding for better liquidity, operational and strategic support, mentoring and additional manpower offered by investors.  


5 social finance tips for social entrepreneurs in these times of crisis: 

(aligning with the barometer of FASE and the professional advice by investor Mark Cheng)

  1. Discover a new funding potential: A possible fundraising theme is how to build a better post-Covid world. Funders will be looking for, and are receptive of such new ideas, although this may take a back seat to emergency funding for the time being.  
  2. Don’t panic: Above all, we urge Fellows not to assume that funders will be closing over the coming months.  
  3. Stay in touch with donors & investors: We recommend that every Fellow checks back with their existing donors and investors to understand their investment appetite and capacity to support them in going forward.  
  4. Be courageous and try to move for unrestricted grants: If possible, try to secure more commitments now in order to build reserves. You may be surprised to find that some funders are willing to move to more unrestricted grants. We highly recommend you to be courageous, approach your funders & investors and test this possibility!  
  5. New strategies: Other solutions to cope better during the crisis recommended by impact investors are to focus on rationalising, and to design new strategies to add value to the emerging needs during the crisis.

Our overall message to social entrepreneurs is: Let everyone know how urgent your innovative solutions are to build a better after crisis society and world!

And if you are an investor, we have this message to you: Keep on supporting social entrepreneurs’ solutions! Now more than ever, they need your support and investment for positive impact! And: Now more than ever, you have a chance to show up and show the relevant impact of investing in social entrepreneurs. Social innovations are right now possibly more crucial than ever before. Stepping up now, helps you as an investor to stay relevant also far beyond this crisis.  


Last but not least, we want to share some key resources with you: