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What is RESOLVE?

RESOLVE is a Washington, DC based non-profit organization that forges sustainable solutions to critical social, health, and environmental challenges by creating innovative partnerships where they are least likely and most needed. RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions (BWS) program facilitates novel, collaborative processes, which identify and apply innovative science and technology to improve the monitoring and protection of Earth’s biodiversity.

What is impact@RESOLVE?

impact@RESOLVE is a platform to design, launch and scale impact enterprises.

What are impact enterprises?

Impact enterprises are business entities that are created and managed with the explicit intention of helping to solve important social or environmental problems.

Why did RESOLVE create impact@RESOLVE?

In RESOLVE’s 40-year history it has identified several situations wherein the optimal solution to a given social or environmental problem involved the establishment of a sustainable for-profit business that is committed to filling a key role in addressing the problem. In this role, there is a revenue stream from the sale of goods or services that enables the enterprise to achieve long-term financial sustainability and also enables it to mobilize a diverse range of financial resources, including impact investment, blended finance, impact bonds, and even commercial investment. Impact enterprises can also help incentivize the involvement of key partners that might not otherwise be able to dedicate their time to addressing the problem, including individual entrepreneurs, other non-profit organizations, and other for-profit businesses.

How could impact@RESOLVE benefit non-profit organizations?

impact@RESOLVE can help non-profit organizations identify opportunities within their existing donor-funded operations that could be structured and spun-off as impact enterprises. Doing so may help to conserve donor resources and it may help to engage a broader range of financial and human resources with the specific challenges that the impact enterprises are created to address. impact@RESOLVE can also be used by the founding non-profits to ensure that the achievement of the original social/environmental objectives remain the central objectives of the impact enterprises. Ultimately, if impact@RESOLVE helps to create an impact enterprise for a given non-profit organization, that non-profit will hold equity in the impact enterprise and if that enterprise generates profits and distributes dividends then the non-profit will receive income that it may use to serve its non-profit / philanthropic mission.

How could impact@RESOLVE benefit for-profit businesses?

impact@RESOLVE may be an important tool for corporate social responsibility initiatives of major corporations in the same way that impact@RESOLVE may be beneficial to foundations, non-profit organizations and other philanthropic partners. In certain contexts, for-profit businesses may seek to work with impact@RESOLVE to create an impact enterprise, along with non-profit organizations, individual entrepreneurs, and/or stakeholder/community groups and thereby achieve broader strategic objectives of the for-profit businesses. A for-profit business may also just seek to engage with impact@RESOLVE in order to initiate the development of an enterprise that is not profitable enough to be considered as part of the company’s own for-profit work but has clear social and/or environmental benefits that the company seeks to achieve. impact@RESOLVE may be particularly helpful in helping for-profit partners engage key stakeholders, like community associations and civil society groups, as equity shareholders in impact enterprises. A necessary condition for impact@RESOLVE to work on a project to create an impact enterprise with an existing for-profit business is the sponsorship or endorsement of the project by RESOLVE or another reputable non-profit philanthropic organization.

Who else would benefit from engaging impact@RESOLVE?

In addition to non-profit organizations and for-profit companies impact@RESOLVE can be particularly helpful for individual social entrepreneurs that have a technology or business idea that they seek to develop, which will simultaneously help achieve an important social or environmental objective while generating financial profit. Individuals can benefit from impact@RESOLVE’s network’s and technical support. A necessary condition for impact@RESOLVE to work with an individual entrepreneur is the sponsorship or endorsement of the entrepreneur’s project by RESOLVE or another reputable non-profit philanthropic organization.

Investors would also be benefit from engaging with impact@RESOLVE. According to the 2018 Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN) Annual Impact Investment Survey, a lack of ‘high quality investment opportunities’ is a serious challenge for most investors in this space. impact@RESOLVE addresses that challenge by designing, launching and scaling high quality social enterprises that are ready for investment.  

Does impact@RESOLVE focus on any particular sectors or geographies?

No, impact@RESOLVE offers a service (and a methodology) – designing, launching and scaling impact enterprises. In regard to the projects that it takes on, impact@RESOLVE is agnostic about sectors or geographies as long as the projects are initiated with the intention of establishing impact enterprises that have explicit objectives of helping to address important social or environmental challenges. Thus, impact@RESOLVE’s projects could be in any sector, to address any major social or environmental challenge, anywhere in the world. A key litmus test for the project’s social/environmental importance is that it has the sponsorship or endorsement of RESOLVE or another reputable non-profit philanthropic organization.

How is impact@RESOLVE different from other incubators or accelerators?

impact@RESOLVE is similar to business incubators in that it focuses on start-up, for-profit companies and provides them with cost effective access to key services that are important for early stage development – including office space; administration, HR, and accounting support; fundraising and networking support; legal services; etc. However, a key differentiator of impact@RESOLVE is that it works exclusively with impact enterprises and it harnesses the technical capacities of its parent organization, RESOLVE, in building collaborative arrangements with diverse organizations and individuals. This exclusive support arrangement with RESOLVE enables impact@RESOLVE to organize and develop impact enterprises that include equity partnerships involving a diverse range of participants including for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, individual entrepreneurs, stakeholder groups, and other actors involved in, or affected by the social or environmental challenge that a impact enterprise is seeking to address.

Another key differentiator of impact@RESOLVE is that it specializes in identifying opportunities to create impact enterprises within existing donor-funded work of non-profit organizations. impact@RESOLVE enables non-profits to transform programs, which meet certain criteria, into financially self-sufficient impact enterprises.  The parent non-profit organizations will own equity in these impact enterprises, they will be able to continue to engage their own staff in the development of the enterprises (and be paid for this service by the enterprise), they will be able to transform previous donor support (financial and in-kind) into equity in the enterprise, they will benefit from any future dividends or capital gains that the enterprises may generate, and they will be able to ensure that the enterprises maintain their philanthropic objectives and that they effectively work to achieve those objectives.

Who owns impact@RESOLVE?

impact@RESOLVE is organized as an impact enterprise itself. It is a Delaware C Corporation. However, impact@RESOLVE is wholly owned by RESOLVE, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit, philanthropic organization. Any profits that impact@RESOLVE may earn in the future will be distributed to RESOLVE to further RESOLVE’s non-profit, philanthropic objectives.

Who owns the impact enterprises being developed by impact@RESOLVE?

impact@RESOLVE is currently working on three different impact enterprises – WildTech@RESOLVE LLC; Salmon Gold LLC; and ReGrow Sierra Leone, LTD. Each of these enterprises has a different ownership structure, including a shareholding by impact@RESOLVE itself and other key businesses and individual entrepreneurs. For example, the ownership of WildTech@RESOLVE is shared between impact@RESOLVE and an individual social entrepreneur. A key feature of the impact@RESOLVE platform is that it enables shared ownership of an impact enterprise and this creates new opportunities to align incentives and mobilize resources for the achievement of a social or environmental objective.