Social impact investing makes student debut in Kingston

Commerce students form $70,000 fund 

KSVF looking to attract talent from diverse backgrounds at Queen’s. 
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The Kingston Social Value Fund (KSVF) was founded by Queen’s students to make socially driven investments in Kingston. 

“The Kingston Social Value Fund is a student-led, place-based impact investment fund that raises local capital here in Kingston,” Keshiv Kaushal, Comm ’22 and KSVF co-founder, said in an interview with The Journal

“We invest in what’s referred to as SPOs [Social Purpose Organizations]—these are inclusive of for-profit social enterprises, nonprofit organizations, cooperatives, and early-stage social ventures.”

Kaushal said impact investments are made with the goal of social as well as financial returns. 

“It differs from philanthropy in the sense that there is an expectation of financial return. But it also differs from traditional financial investment in that there's an expectation of a positive social or environmental return,” he explained. 

Yash Lohchav, Comm ’24 and KSVF fund manager, said the fund screens potential client organizations based on their anticipated impact on the community. 

“Organizations that will have a financial return also tend to be projects that have a strong foundation. They're led by people who are very passionate and very knowledgeable,” Lohchav said. 

According to Lohchav, financial outcomes aren’t neglected by supporting social ventures, and vice versa. 

“We believe when you’re looking to make an impact, financial return comes hand in hand with that,” Lohchav said. 

According to Kaushal, impact investing isn’t a new idea and has roots in other parts of the country—KSVF being one of the first impact investing funds in Kingston.

“The first eight months was socializing the concept of impact investing with stakeholders in the community, but Kingston wrapped their arms around us and said, ‘We really see the power of this model,’” Kaushal said.

“There are tons of [social organizations] in Kingston, and they don't really qualify for bank financing that's affordable because their business model doesn't fit the typical mold. Those are the businesses we live and breathe to finance.”

KSVF has raised $70,000 for their first investing round, which will include onboarding United Way of Kingston as an investor.

“We've been greatly engaged with over 50 social enterprises in Kingston, built out an investment committee and a team of advisors, and really have become well known in Kingston's community—it has been an amazing journey,” Kaushal said. 

KSVF is also looking to get more Queen’s students involved.

“We encourage—regardless of faculty—for students to think about applying. We're running a coffee chat program where students can apply and get to speak to some of the people in the fund and learn more,” Lohchav said. 

According to Kaushal, KSVF has approached its hiring process alongside an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity consultant.

“We know that a lot of clubs and organizations that do what we do tend to recruit from a very homogenous pool. We don't believe that leads to the best decision making,” Kaushal said. 

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