What is an Impact Venture? 5 gamechangers to look out for in 2022

May 9, 2022

I wrote a blog back in 2020 about a new generation of impact entrepreneurs seeking to be both financially successful AND impactful.

Impact Ventures and impact entrepreneurs are on the rise. In 2021, the European Commission launched Horizon Europe, a €95bn funding programme entirely focused on impactful companies and collaborative projects aiming to solve some of the biggest challenges to society. This article will help to explain what an impact venture is by giving you some examples of some businesses that are making an impact.

What is Horizon Europe?

Firstly, what is this €95bn funding programme for impactful projects? How can I access funding from Horizon Europe for my business or organisation?

Horizon Europe is the latest grant and equity funding programme in Europe, the follow up to Horizon 2020. Businesses, universities, public bodies, not-for-profits, cities, regions, charities – can all access funding and participate. Funding for impact ventures is mainly offered in the form of a grant that will cover between 70% and 100% of the costs of the project – research, development, prototyping, demonstration, scaling, and training.

Grants from €100,000 to €40million are available to support ambitious, impactful projects in these areas:

  1. Adaptation to Climate Change: support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030
  2. Cancer: working with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and solutions to live longer and better
  3. Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030
  4. 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030
  5. A Soil Deal for Europe: 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030

So which impact ventures should I know about?

Here is a short description of just some of the great social impact ventures we have been working with over the past few years, covering Renewable Energy, Smart Cities, Waste Reduction and Inclusion:

  • Tonus Tech – A UK and EU based company working in the field of healthy ageing and improved personal mobility with a focus on wearable robotics, smart materials and sensors. The ambitious team at Tonus have secured funding to develop prototypes and are in advanced discussions with commercial partners.
  • Benetalk – The world’s first wearable speech tracker that supports people that stutter. The technology uses data collected from the micro-wearable device to ‘coach’ wearers to overcome their speech challenges. The wearables sector is set to ship 238 million devices in 2023 (report), so Benetalk are parallel tracking growth and impact.
  • Brain In Hand – A digital self-management support system for people who need help remembering things, making decisions, planning, or managing anxiety. This scale-up business has secured multiple grants from the UK and EU to support R&D activities – watch this space for a forthcoming exciting announcement about additional grant and equity funding.
  • BladeBUG – Are developing advanced robots to assist technicians in the inspection and repair of offshore wind turbine blades. This crucial, automated, safe approach to the inspection, maintenance and repair of offshore wind turbines will unlock significant industry growth.

Is there funding for these businesses then?

We can confidently say that the funders we work with – spanning Grants, CSR, Tenders, Impact Investment, Debt – would be really interested in these impact ventures and others working on a similar basis. 

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Alex has over 15 years experience in founding and running businesses, the most recent company having raised over £50m in funding for businesses based across the globe. He has a thorough knowledge of business funding options and can draw on many successful consultancy engagements to bring impetus to venturing. Alex has now set his focus to working with entrepreneurial teams looking to make a positive impact on the climate crisis and the broader UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Contact Alex