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SOCAP11 Panelist Spotlight: Lenora Suki, Smart Cities Advisors

SOCAP August 23, 2011

What is your role in the Social Capital Market?
Smart Cities Advisors is an intermediary and advisor. We’re also building an online knowledge portal for social entrepreneurs in urban built environment aimed at information exchange, network building, knowledge creation, capacity building and leadership development.
How might we re-imagine resources to create self-sustaining and thriving local communities?
First, cities in rapidly growing developing countries need to start seeing slums as potential assets, places where innovation and industry often already exist, and the people who live there as contributors to sustainable community and economy. Urban investment models have to recognize these values.
Second, urban affordable housing must be a multidisciplinary pursuit – more than just a physical infrastructure or a design-and-technology solution. Lower and moderate income communities need a range of complementary amenities like social, market and community infrastructure, as well as jobs, education, health and economic development services. These are investments in safer, healthier, more dynamic and more economically active communities, which become resources for our growing cities.
Impact investors can be supporting the urban enterprise pioneers who are thinking about bigger definitions of the words “asset,” “housing” and “community.”
What does Money + Meaning = to you? What should the social capital market stand for?
Money + meaning is about the reality of our increasingly interconnected world.
We’re all living through exceptional market volatility that was touched off by irresponsible business and investment models – in some cases, models that purported to build wealth for lower income communities.
Investing with meaning requires understanding that the consequences of our business and investment decisions reach beyond our standardized, parochial analyses of risk and return.
The social capital market also differentiates and innovates by being inclusive, and not just of the beneficiaries and end users we all talk about helping. It also needs to be inclusive of different types of donors, investors, entrepreneurs, enterprises and intermediaries. It’s more than a trade or a transaction, and much can be accomplished across disciplines. So, the social capital market has to get better at identifying itself with transparency and an open flow of information for decision-making and relationship-building.

Impact Investing
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