Canada’s Impact Moonshot: Creating Inclusive Sustainable Prosperity

This event is invite-only. Interested in attending? Please contact Rebecca Melville ( or 416-481-7070 ex2).


To gather together a group of enthusiastic individuals with varied but plentiful experience in the impact investing/social entrepreneurship/blended finance world to connect on a deep level, exchange knowledge and best practices, and leverage each other’s experience and networks in order to expand our sense of the possible while continuing to push the movement forward in a good and purposeful way. The forum focuses on creating actionable solutions and concrete outcomes in addition to allowing space for thoughtful discussion. It seeks to be inclusive and to allow for a diversity of opinions and ideas.

The September gathering will bring together individuals from a variety of backgrounds including government, not-for-profits, charities and the private sector. The first part of the session will focus on building bridges and learning about each other and our common connections. We will also explore where Canada currently fits in the global social finance marketplace – how it is perceived, what its strengths are, and where it has room to grow. During the next piece we will consider the language being used in social finance/innovation – what narrative is currently being put forth? What language is helping grow the marketplace, and what might be holding it back? Finally, we will develop a significant initiative that will serve as a beacon to the world – one that seeks to exponentially grow the social finance marketplace, in order to benefit society, mobilize private, public and philanthropic capital for public benefit, and continue to create further opportunities for communities that are significantly under-represented in the current market. Finally, we will consider the role of government in this initiative and in the social finance/innovation space. What specific policy recommendations can we make that will allow for social finance/innovation to flourish in Canada? What role can the government take in pushing forward the Moonshot initiative?


This is the first gathering of what we hope becomes a regular action forum in the social innovation/finance space focused on specific initiatives that galvanize the global social finance marketplace and help define Canada’s leadership role. The Impact Group and Research Money Inc., as well as various other leaders in the space, will host the forum.

About the Impact Group and Research Money

The Impact Group along with its sister company Research Money have been working in Canada’s science, technology, innovation and finance landscape for over 30 years, with a particular emphasis on the role that policy plays in developing and shaping this landscape. Our focus has been on accelerating the growth of Canada’s knowledge-based ecosystem with the end goal of increasing the quality of life for Canadians and the world. We act as informers and connectors through our newsletters and conferences. As researchers and through our educational initiatives, we contribute to the healthy growth of the ecosystem. We held our first conference focused exclusively on Impact Investing and Social Finance in June 2016 at the Mars Discovery Centre. The initiative to create an ongoing thought leader action forum was conceived by some of those present at that conference in order to keep the momentum and energy of the event moving forward, and to try and produce some tangible outcomes that bolster the social finance ecosystem, both in Canada and internationally.


  1. Continue building the global social finance marketplace/connected community by mapping existing connections and increasing participant networks
  2. Position Canada as a hopeful beacon for inclusive social innovation/finance
  3. Re-frame and re-shape the current narrative around social innovation/finance to be more inclusive and engaging for all in order to:
    • Reach out and engage more people from a variety of sectors including government, large institutions, etc.
    • Open the door to social finance for those who might not currently “get it” or respect the movement
    • Clarify and outline universal/unified talking points for people doing engagement work
    • Support retail investors who want to be active participants in their financial destiny by giving them language to ask for impact investments at their institutions, opening doorways for them to make the transition if they don’t get support at their institutions, etc.

while ensuring that the voice of the impacted communities remains at the centre of the social finance/innovation conversation

  1. Involve successful social entrepreneurs in the impact investing conversation and identify exemplary case studies of successful social enterprises/entrepreneurs
  2. Engage government in creating strategies to increase government support in ways that are helpful and effective
  3. Demonstrate that government is and can be an effective lever
  4. Come up with Moonshot initiative (and establish next steps)


A small group of 30-40 participants will include thought leaders from the social finance/social innovation space. It will be lead by a consortium of seasoned social innovators, impact investors and social finance practitioners from the United States and Canada including the following:

Jeffrey Crelinsten, CEO & Publisher, RE$EARCH MONEY & The Impact Group
Tina Crouse, Strategist, Social Finance
Jim Davidson, President, PeakChange
Rebecca Melville, COO, RE$EARCH MONEY & The Impact Group
Linda Montgomery, Marketing and Business Development Leader; VP Marketing, Blanc Labs
Amber Nystrom, Co-Founder & Curator, SDG Marketplace and Triple Revolution Collective and Co-Founding Partner, Prosparity
Holly Ruxin, CEO & Co-Founder, Montcalm TCR
Stephanie Wilson, Principal, ACCESS MD

We will also be inviting individuals from private equity, impact investment, charities, large financial institutions, and government. We’re looking for those with experience and interest in the space, as well as for what we are calling engaged customers – individuals who may not currently be active in the space, but bring the perspective of those we’d like to engage in the conversation (e.g. large financial institutions, family offices, policy makers, etc.). These individuals must show an active interest in impact investing/social finance, even if their institution does not.


Direct Outcomes:

A white paper produced by RE$EARCH MONEY with all participating attendees at the event who wish to be, listed as contributors. The paper could include:

  1. Map of connections between participants (potential basis for broader mapping exercise)
  2. Map of Canada’s strengths and weakness
  3. Suggestions of areas for Canada to grow, and potential connections to the work of our colleagues in other countries
  4. Discussion on language in social finance/impact investing
  5. “Communication cheat sheet” that attempts to unify and clarify talking points with re-framing of narrative as primary motivation
  6. The outline of a Moonshot initiative and people’s responsibilities to bring it forward
  7. 3-5 specific policy recommendations to present to the Canadian government or to the new committee

Indirect Outcomes:

  1. Networking
  2. Sharing of best practices/models
  3. Sharing of stories including challenges/gaps/positive experiences
  4. Everyone better equipped to bring ideas to boss/community/department/drunk uncle/etc.
  5. Outcomes that can be shared and communicated externally to further the conversation and expansion of social finance


Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators include

Jeffrey Crelinsten

Jeffrey Crelinsten

Jeffrey Crelinsten is CEO of Research Money Inc. and publisher of RE$EARCH MONEY. He is also President and CEO of The Impact Group, a consultancy he co-founded in 1987, specializing in science, technology and innovation policy, communications and education. Jeffrey has been studying challenges facing tech entrepreneurs and the innovation ecosystems that try to support them for over 25 years. He developed the R$ conferences to bring together leaders from the private and public sector to address critical issues around innovation policy and knowledge-based commerce.

Before founding The Impact Group, Jeffrey taught science and human affairs at Concordia University and had an active career as a science documentary writer for radio and television.

Jeffrey is Senior Research Fellow at the Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He is a founding director of the International Commercialization Alliance and is a past-President of the Canadian Science Writers Association. Jeffrey has a B.Sc. in physics from McGill University, a M.Sc. in astronomy from University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in history of science and science policy from University of Montreal.

Jim Davidson

Private Investor; Advisor; Co-Founding Principal, Peak Change
Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson created Peak Change with his wife Melanie Pease-Davidson to promote positive impacts of early stage investment companies and funds. With over 20 years of internet technology and entrepreneurial experience, Jim is currently focused on early stage impact-investing, providing capital and serving as an advisor and board member for companies in clean tech, education, environment and international development that leverage innovation and technology to further their social benefit and sustainability missions.

Previously, Jim served as a senior leader at AOL where he served as CTO of DigitalCity, the internet’s first hyper-local portal, and later as VP of Web Services and Publishing, where he led teams responsible for some of the most innovative and high-scale sites including and MapQuest. Jim has also been a leader at early-stage companies including: CTO of, President of, and co-founder and CEO of, an online marketplace for disadvantaged service providers.

Jim serves on the boards of CauseLabs, Girls for a Change, Impact HUB Boulder, Investor’s Circle, Think Impact, and Unleesh. He is also a guarantor with MicroCredit Enterprises which helps fund micro-loans around the world. Jim’s memberships include: Rocky Mountain Venture Club, Toniic, Investor’s Circle (Board Chair & Lifetime Member), Impact HUB Boulder (Board & Lifetime Member). Jim lives in Denver, CO with his wife Melanie and two children, Sophie & Xander, and this year became a two-time Boulder IronMan.

Amber Nystrom

Co-Founder & Curator, Trinity Nexus & Triple Revolution Collective; Founding President, DelphÏmpact Foundation
Amber Nystrom

Amber is a global systems change architect, social entrepreneur and facilitator of an inclusive economy. She is among the leading pioneers in the fields of impact investing and social enterprise. As a expert in global innovation ecosystem and meta-network design, Amber has for over two decades lead numerous industry first’s in channeling the power of entrepreneurs and markets to address humanity’s great challenges.

She has served as Director of Social Entrepreneurship Incubation for the Women’s Technology Cluster (now Astia); the Founder and President of Social Fusion, the first network based global social venture incubator – whose cluster design was propagated across the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and parts of Asia and Africa; and as a Principal in Tendris, a Dutch social venture holding company and PE fund pioneering 21st Century business.

A potent advocate, speaker and Master Entelechy Facilitator, Amber has lead nearly 1,000 private and multi-stakeholder systems change sessions on every continent with select impact investment families, firms and development groups with over $3tn in AUM, unlocking well over $13 billion of new capital into impact.

She is a committed mindfulness practitioner, and a Hero’s Journey Masters Faculty for global millennials of Watson University; and senior leaders seeking a courageous pathway as 21st century warriors of a conscious world. Her current focus is engaging women, millennials and a $60tn wealth transfer to ignite a Golden Age of Impact.

Stephanie Wilson

Founder and Principal ACCESS Global Healthcare Alliance, ACCESS buildMED and AUDACITY Capital Collaborative

Stephanie is an experienced angel investor and medical real estate developer who continues to stand out with her irrefutable credibility, character and collaborative spirit. As a 19 year entrepreneur who started her own business in Commercial Real Estate at the age of 29, she continues to curate and create opportunities for others by sharing experience and investment.

As an active member of Investor’s Circle, her business prowess is delicately dispersed to companies whose mission makes an impact. Stephanie brings over 26 years of combined experience from her early days at GE Medical Systems selling CT, MRI, X-Ray, Mammography, Ultrasound and PET scanners to physicians and hospitals, to her role as managing partner of ACCESS Medical Development, a medical real estate development, leasing and asset management firm.

To expand and continue to contribute in the sustainable impact space, Stephanie is focused on women’s advancement through wealth building, income disparity, and millennial engagement. The three aligned initiatives: ACCESS Global Healthcare Alliance, a development consultancy firm that with family offices, foundations to enact capital and medical real estate expertise Internationally; AUDACITY Capital Collaborative, an impact investing firm is focused on financing emerging women leaders and communities through ACCESS buildMed; Building Wealth Through Health. is designed to usher in the next generation of impact innovators through sustainable philanthropy and angel investing initiatives that create regenerative economies and resilient communities.

A lifelong entrepreneur and self-made success story, Stephanie brings a front-line perspective and keen eye on investment opportunities to Women, Millennial Innovators, Healthcare Investors, Family Offices and Collaborative Investment Partners.

Conference Program

Day 1 - September 27, 2017


Our hosts and facilitators for the event include the following:

Jeffrey Crelinsten, Publisher & CEO, RE$EARCH MONEY

Jim Davidson, Private Investor; Advisor; Co-Founding Principal, Peak Change

Amber Nystrom, Co-Founder & Curator, Trinity Nexus & Triple Revolution Collective; Founding President, DelphÏmpact Foundation

Stephanie Wilson, Founder and Principal ACCESS Global Healthcare Alliance, ACCESS buildMED and AUDACITY Capital Collaborative

09:00 - 10:30

We are a connected community

Goals: We will use this session to do a room mapping exercise, get to know each other, and figure out how we are connected.

Questions to explore:
• Who is in the room?
• What are they doing?
• What are their priorities and challenges?
• What are the gaps in the room?
• How are we connected/not connected to one another?

Outcome: “Map” of room for white paper (potential basis for broader mapping exercise)

10:30 - 11:00

Networking Break

11:00 - 13:00

Where is Canada in the current global social finance marketplace?

Goals: Position Canada in the global context and flesh out our strengths

Questions to explore:
• How does Canada fit into the global social finance marketplace?
• What are our strengths? Weaknesses?
• What should we build on? What should we leave to others? What networks should we be tapping into more?
• How can we bring social entrepreneurs into the social finance conversation?
• How do we continue to build our inclusive, connected community?

• Map of Canada’s strengths and weakness, and how people in the room fit into these areas (i.e. are they working in a strength? A weakness?)
• Identify areas in which to grow for individuals/organizations as well as Canada as a whole

13:00 - 14:00


14:00 - 16:00

Re-framing the narrative

Goals: Re-frame and re-shape current narrative to be more engaging of those not currently ‘in the fold’, as well as clarify and outline universal talking points for people doing engagement work

Questions to Explore:
• What terms are currently being used that are harmful? Which are helpful?
• What language can we use to broaden our audience and entice new people into the fold?
• How important is finding and using a common vocabulary/uniting our voices? What is helpful or harmful about that idea?
• How do we include voices from the communities affected by impact investing in the conversation when those voices are so disparate and often disconnected?
• How can we more actively include social entrepreneurs in the discussion/community?
• What research exists that demonstrates the financial benefits of impact investments (data/case studies) that we can bring into the narrative?

• “Communication cheat sheet” that attempts to unify and clarify talking points with re-framing of narrative as primary motivation

16:00 - 16:30

Networking Break

16:30 - 17:30

Re-framing the possible

Goal: As a group, we will come up with a number of “moonshot” ideas that will catapult Canada forward in the social finance/innovation space. Doing this as an end of day exercise will give us time to sleep on the ideas generated, and allow them to take fuller shape in our mind.

Outcome: Crazy ideas to sleep on


Jeffersonian Dinners (optional, all are invited)

There will be an option for all participants to attend a Jeffersonian Dinner on the evening of Wednesday September 27. Jeffersonian Dinners are small, facilitated dinner sessions that allow participants to get to know each other on a deeper level and to connect in ways that conferences and gatherings usually don’t allow. The experience and closeness felt at the dinners help fuel friendship and trust, an essential element in promoting long-term relationships for building meaningful change in the world.

There is no extra cost to attend the dinner. Guests are responsible for their own meal and beverage costs.

Day 2 - September 28, 2017

09:00 - 11:00

Defining Canada’s moonshot

Goals: As a group, we will explore the previous day ideas and pick one that we think is a feasible next-step initiative. We’ll then generate next steps – what needs to happen, in what sectors? Are there people in the room willing to take on some of the pieces? Are there others in our community we think might want to get involved?

Outcome: A description of a Canadian moonshot and a set of next steps, including assigning people to move those specific steps forward

11:00 - 11:30

Networking Break

11:30 - 13:00

How do we involve the government in this forward push?

Goals: Engage government in creating strategies to increase government support in ways that are helpful and effective and demonstrate that government is and can be an effective lever

Outcome: 3-5 specific policy recommendations for the Canadian government that will push impact investing/social finance/Canada’s moonshot forward in the coming years

Partners & Exhibitors

Thank You to our Partners