TELUS launches new $100 million social impact fund to invest in new sustainable businesses

TELUS this week announced the launch of its new TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, a $100 million social impact investment fund created to power the biggest, boldest, bravest ideas in new responsible and sustainable startup businesses. The fund will invest in entrepreneurs building solutions aimed at improving healthcare, furthering social and economic inclusion, ensuring sustainable food production, and reducing our environmental footprint. The TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good will fuel greater social innovation in Canada through investments in companies that generate both financial and social returns benefiting our society.

“The Pollinator Fund for Good represents the progression of TELUS’ social capitalism thesis, as we invest in entrepreneurs and prescient business models that share our belief that to do well as an organisation, we must do good in the communities where we live, work, and serve,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO, TELUS. “This $100 million investment will accelerate potent, scalable and socially responsible products and services coming to market, helping to answer some of the most pressing social challenges facing our world, including socio-economic inclusiveness.

Darren Entwistle

As one of the largest corporate impact funds globally, our TELUS Pollinator portfolio will improve health, environmental and food sustainability outcomes by investing in our next generation of innovators, leveraging transformative digital technologies, to advance TELUS’ promise of a friendly future for all.”

TELUS remains committed to helping Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs adapt and navigate the massive social and economic disruptions posed by COVID-19. The TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good will help scale early-stage companies and invest in those brave enough to tackle societal challenges, deliver value to communities, and fuel economic growth. Investments will focus on for-profit companies and founders committed to driving social innovation and economic growth in the following four areas:

* Transforming healthcare: Digital solutions that make safe and quality physical and mental healthcare accessible and efficient for all Canadians.

* Enabling inclusive communities: Startups building solutions to further social and economic inclusion and ensuring everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.

* Supporting responsible agriculture: Companies providing innovative technology-first solutions that empower the agriculture industry to improve Canada’s food systems.

* Caring for our planet: Companies and entrepreneurs building solutions to better the planet and reduce our environmental footprints.

An advisory board of entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders with expertise across the impact areas is being formed to advise on strategy, markets, and deal sourcing. Early-stage companies receiving investment will benefit from the insights and expertise from TELUS’ depth and breadth of resources, including the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, TELUS’ Community Boards, TELUS Health, Sustainability, and TELUS Ventures with its broad-reaching network within the venture capital space, to drive meaningful social impact in Canada.

“As a leading corporation in the world, we have an accountability to invest in new responsible businesses to ensure their success and impact,” said Jill Schnarr, Chief Social Innovation Officer. “At TELUS, we boldly believe profit and purpose are mutually inclusive and we’re doing our part to support purpose-driven businesses that are addressing the needs of our communities today, as well as those we expect to be significant drivers of our economy for years to come.”

The TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good is proud to announce its first three cornerstone investments:

* Windmill Microlending is Canada’s largest microlending program, offering microloans and individualized learning plans to help skilled immigrants and refugees continue their careers in Canada. On average, clients’ incomes increase 3.4x upon completion of the learning plan.

* Rhiza Capital is a Sunshine Coast-based impact investment fund that invests in B.C.-based companies that drive both social and economic impact within the regions that they serve.

* Tidal Vision is a US based company that has developed a proprietary process for upcycling crustacean shells to develop a non-toxic, zero waste biopolymer that has applications across many industries, including textiles, agriculture, and wastewater treatment.

“As a global leader in social capitalism, we believe that responsible business means purpose and profit go hand-in-hand. The investments made by the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good aren’t restricted to Canadian-based companies driving social innovation; it’s open to entrepreneurs worldwide looking to scale and grow their impact in Canada,” said Blair Miller, Managing Partner.

“We look forward to working with our partners and advisors to identify and support purpose-driven companies doing good around the world.”

Since 2000, TELUS has contributed $1.3 billion in value, time, and financial support to Canadian charities and grassroots organizations, making TELUS one of the most giving companies in the world. The new TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good is an extension of TELUS’ continued commitment to lead the charge in social capitalism through new investments in socially innovative and responsible products to drive financial return and economic growth while providing portfolio companies with the expertise and support from a world-leading communications and information technology company.

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