Designing for a Radically Different Future & Financial System: A Vancouver Debrief

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values believes that banks play a critical role in solving the biggest problems of our time. We agree. Our founder, Carolien de Bruin, was invited to present our vision for a LinkedIn-like platform for purpose driven entrepreneurs to its 55+ members and to brainstorm how the GABV’s 55+ allied financial institutions can take the lead in connecting such entrepreneurs to the capital they need to succeed.


As we enter the third decade of this century, humans face unprecedented challenges. For many years, society has put pressure on governments and multilateral institutions to solve the many unresolved issues that threaten our existence. But experience tells us that we cannot rely on them alone to put solutions in place. Transformation requires a coordinated effort of local, national and global authorities along with many private sector actors and the commitment and actions of informed citizens. And banks. The Global Alliance for Banking on Values believes that banking forms an important part of the solution. At the GABV’s 10 Year Anniversary Conference, 1000+ bankers, community organizations, and market builders like C-Change got together to explore how banking can solve the biggest problems of our time. Societal challenges that participants dove into: Migration, gender and diversity, and climate change. Three themes that are team is highly passionate to contribute to and - coincidentally - are part of the three investment areas that we will dive into as part of our #BIZ4SDGs platform roll out.

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First and foremost, the dialogue that the GABV was able foster, touching head and heart, while also pivoting into a real dialogue around what the GABV and its members could do to effectuate change. The touching story of Tima Kurdi, the aunt of the 3-year old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, who was found on the Turkish shore late 2015, not having survived his flight from war with his family, linked to the work that cities like Los Angeles are doing to support migrants locally, and what banks are doing to finance refugee projects jointly created the urgency and practical handholds we all needed to get to action.

Relate to the topic of purpose or ‘value-based’ entrepreneurship, the banks I spoke with reinforced that - while they wish they could finance all the entrepreneurs that show up on their door step, their mandates but also the type of capital that they are able to provide, oftentimes doesn’t match their mandate. The problem: Many entrepreneurs are sent back into an unnavigable forest of investors to test their luck elsewhere. The good news: Retail banks like Triodos or Banca Etica are increasingly also figuring out what they can do to provide capital raising support, even to early stage businesses who from a purely commercial vantage point may not be as attractive yet and despite the fact that prevailing business economics make it difficult to do so. Up next if it were up to us: Team up with the GABV to put entrepreneurs back at the heart of all action and move to a world where they can attract the capital and support they need to succeed through a single impact profile. 

And finally - It continues to be extremely difficult to change the paradigm and move to a new values system. John Fullerton, president of the Capital Institute described his comprehensive vision for a regenerative economy, calling on participants to dare to take a systems approach to their work.

Check out the  Capital Institute

Check out the Capital Institute


Thank you GABV for hosting us & for your urgent call for action. We look forward to #connect4impact with you in the years ahead. One entrepreneur, and one city at a time.