Capitalism With a Conscience
The Stonecrest corporate family is expanding! Stonecrest is pleased to announce the formation of CapCon, a non-profit, pro-social organization based on the notion that the free market, while far from perfect, is nevertheless the best tool for lifting people out of poverty.
The CapCon mission:
To contribute to the eradication of poverty through economically sustainable, market-based initiatives which improve the lives & livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
The brainchild of Stonecrest President and Founder Jon Freeman, CapCon is an organization that will initially act through philanthropic outreach to communities trapped in poverty cycles. The organization will provide financial grants and investments to deserving and qualified organizations that meet Stonecrest’s primary criterion of economic sustainability. “It’s a hand up, not a hand out”, says Freeman. We are looking for organizations that employ smart growth models”.
The cornerstone of the CapCon approach is the notion that market-based innovation is the primary engine of progress & prosperity. CapCon’s priority is to help create the conditions where innovation thrives. So the focus will be on economically isolated communities, where poor living conditions, inadequate health care, and lack of education create a feedback loop that worsens conditions over time and stifles market-based innovation and entrepreneurship. CapCon will attempt to break this cycle, not only by supporting improvements to living conditions, but by emphasizing access to markets and capital so talented and hard-working people have a path to success.
But CapCon’s aim is not simply to make strategic grants to worthy and potentially successful causes. CapCon could eventually become the platform for a new portfolio of Impact investment vehicles on offer from Stonecrest. “From my perspective, CapCon really accomplishes two things,” says Freeman. “First and foremost, it offers direct support for deserving, enterprising people who have been deprived of opportunity due to factors far beyond their control. But perhaps just as importantly, it provides Stonecrest with access and visibility in developing markets. So CapCon could lead Stonecrest down a path to broaden our portfolio of investment opportunities. We envision a time where Impact investing could be an integral part of our offering.”
CapCon Executive Director Erika Luitjens’ aim is to achieve the type of growth and success with CapCon that has been enjoyed by the rest of the Stonecrest portfolio companies. But to get there, CapCon must first perform some important groundwork. Success in the short term will be measured by a very different metric than other Stonecrest companies. Luitjens’ immediate focus will be on building valued relationships with existing organizations that live in and serve the type of communities that fit the CapCon criteria and meet screening requirements. CapCon will make grants and investments in selected organizations, as well as providing hands-on support and consulting in various disciplines such as marketing and operations. CapCon will operate with a focus in the areas of health care, education, income enhancement, and product innovation for underserved markets.
And while CapCon is a new entity, much of this groundwork has been laid already. CapCon will have the good fortune to build upon the legacy of a considerable network of entrepreneurs and partner organizations in several African countries that Freeman and his team has been building for the last 8 years. “Through his own philanthropic work, Jon has developed not only an outstanding series of relationships with dynamic organizations and individuals, but also a thorough knowledge of the social enterprise space”, said Luitjens. “The formation of CapCon is about institutionalizing that knowledge so we can successfully scale the effort”.
For Freeman, the hands-on experience in developing countries has served as “proof of concept” that you can find talented, hard-working, entrepreneurial people in any community, and that those people will strive for and achieve success if given the chance. And that, says Freeman, makes them more than deserving. It also makes them a good bet for investors.
The ultimate hope for CapCon is to broaden the circle of support for the most deserving entrepreneurs by bringing additional resources to bear through access to Stonecrest’s network of investors and business partners. With the rising interest in Impact investment, this is not only a timely business move for Stonecrest, but also one that makes a positive contribution to lives and livelihoods of people who currently have few good options.
In other words, Stonecrest is driving initiatives which fit investor needs in a world where “doing well by doing good” becomes a reality.
For more information about CapCon and the initiatives it supports, check out our website at CapConFoundation.org.