Backgrounder: UVic’s first impact investment

Earlier this year, UVic adopted its new policy for responsible investment. Today, the university announces its first impact investment under that policy. 

Raven Indigenous Capital Partners

Raven Indigenous Capital Partners (Raven), launched in 2018, is an Indigenous-led and owned social finance intermediary headquartered in BC’s Lower Mainland on the unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh). Raven is creating a pathway into Indigenous communities and is growing a large base of Indigenous entrepreneurs. 

It works with Indigenous communities and enterprises to develop innovative financial tools that drive systemic change. Raven is the general partner of the Raven Indigenous Impact Fund LP, a purpose-driven venture fund that provides equity and equity-like capital to innovative, scalable Indigenous enterprises with transformative social and/or environmental impact. 

Created in 2019, the Raven Fund has already invested in five purpose-driven Indigenous enterprises including: Animikii Indigenous Technology, which was the first to receive funding from the fund; PLATO Testing; Cheekbone Beauty; VirtualGurus; and OneFeather. 

To date, 32 foundations, institutions, companies and high net-worth individuals across the country have invested in the Raven Fund. 

At final close, Raven hopes to secure a total of $20 million in investor commitments. 

Case study

The draft case study, currently under review by Raven, was co-authored by Michael R. King, the Lansdowne Chair in Finance at UVic’s Gustavson School of Business; Basma Majerbi, a professor of finance within UVic’s business school and the faculty member responsible for the VI3Hub (see below); and UVic social geographer Crystal Tremblay (Faculty of Social Sciences), who is also UVic’s Special Advisor on Community Engaged Scholarship and has worked directly with Raven for many years. 

The authors intend to submit the case for publication, after which it can be used as a powerful teaching tool in other business schools in Canada and elsewhere. It will help business students better understand the unique challenges faced by Indigenous entrepreneurs in securing traditional sources of capital and will also frame the historical contexts that led to those challenges. 

From this case, students learn about impact investing with a focus on building the Indigenous social finance ecosystem while offering investors new opportunities for reconciliation as part of a responsible investment strategy. 


The idea for the VI3Hub grew out of a workshop at the inaugural Victoria Forum in 2017. 

Led by Majerbi, the VI3Hub is currently being designed in collaboration with UVic scholars, students and members of the wider community. Its primary focus is to support financing of climate-focused innovation on Vancouver Island and in BC. 

Combining climate action, sustainable finance and impact investing in a single integrated hub, its activities will include developing research insights and generating awareness for the public and within the world of investing on how to accelerate the transition to a net-zero inclusive future on Vancouver Island and beyond. And it will connect investors with local businesses and startups developing climate solutions. 

More information on the hub will be posted on the UVic website in 2021.

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Keywords: Indigenous, community, working capital, business, investment, administrative, reconciliation

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