Joel Solomon is Co-Founder and Chair of Renewal Funds, Canada's largest mission venture capital firm at $98m, investing in Organics and EnviroTech in Canada and the USA. With Founder/Funder Carol Newell, he spent 14 years implementing a “whole portfolio to mission” strategy as leader of her activist Family Office.
Joel is a member of the University of British Columbia Board of Governors, and Co-Author of The Clean Money Revolution, a call to action to move trillions of dollars from damage to regeneration.
Who is Joel Solomon?
Joel was born in Chattanooga Tennessee to familay of Jewish immigrants. On both sides of his family was the entrepreneurial call. They owned a collection of movie theaters, built the first shopping center in Tennessee, and Joel grew up in a family that went from modest resources to quite wealthy. Once Joel inherited that wealth when he became an adult, Joel had to make a decision about how he was going to handle it.
Where there any lessons about failure that carried over into who you are?
Joel’s mother, being a working woman in the 60’s, was an inspiration to Joel. After Joel’s father passed and the turbulence of the decade made Joel realize that entrepreneurs have a choice to design businesses that help people and make the world a better place.
Money, business, and finance have a huge ability to influence the world we face so we should attempt to do something with to make the world better.
There is a lot of money to be made by doing the right thing because the consumer is more informed and cares more than ever before. Movements like the modern cafe movement are examples of the kind of business that Joel likes as an ethical business.
What is clean money versus dirty money?
The biggest money-making opportunity in history is making products that are cleaner, safer, and fairer. If the purpose of business is to accumulate wealth infinitely without taking the effects on human life to heart, we are going to face some difficult time ahead.You can make money in a way that promotes human flourishing instead of taking advantage of human weaknesses.
How does an entrepreneur make a business model work that can still hit sustainability goals?
No single one of us can solve the world’s problems on our own. We just have to do our best in a relative world. As an individual entrepreneur, you can make incremental steps towards better solutions and materials that are starting to be recognized as consumer value.
What is mission venture capital?
The main difference is the focus on certain industries, particularly organic food and skin care, and environmental technologies. Joel invests in a boom industry that was once discounted, as we are now more conscious about the food and chemicals we put in our bodies.People need the diversity and complexity of nature, so building a business that promotes those values are aligning with the consumer’s evolving preferences.
Joel wants to find entrepreneurs that get it, and embody the values throughout their company. The marketplace wants the better product, but it will take investors and entrepreneurs to embrace and live the values that matter. The government subsidizes industries that are outdated and they need to let them pass on. Technology is revolutionizing the way we do virtually everything and we need to stop holding it back.
Reference: The Clean Money Revolution, Joel Solomon
You need to find the mentors, voices, and the influences that you believe will help you think through the kinds of questions you are going through. Entrepreneurship is almost like a religion in many areas of the world, the number of resources available is immense. There is a growing ecosystem that is there to support you if you want to do something with your life that is going to make people and places better. You have to work hard but you can get there.
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