Root Change's Innovation Scouts

Last week, the CHMI team met with Evan Bloom, co-founder and managing partner at [Root Change](http://www.rootchange.org), an organization devoted to promoting social change through innovation. Root Change has recently launched an initiative called [Innovation Scouts](http://www.rootchangescouts.org/homepagelight), an effort to uncover pattern breaking social enterprises and bring them to the attention of potential investors.

We had first learned of this initiative about a year ago, when both CHMI and Innovation Scouts were in their infancy. Over the past twelve months, the Innovation Scouts network has recruited close to 40 scouts in East Africa and Southeast Asia – local leaders with a deep knowledge of the social enterprise sector. Scouts are trained to identify investment opportunities in small and medium-size businesses with a social mission. All interested businesses are invited to participate in an “Opportunity Screening Workshop”, where they have a chance to share their business model with fellow entrepreneurs. A vote at the close of the workshop selects up to five enterprises to be featured on the Innovation Scouts web platform.

And now for the fun part! The Innovation Scouts web platform is actually a model stock exchange where the performance of each enterprise is monitored. Registered users are given a virtual $20,000 to create their own portfolios -buying and selling shares in the enterprises they believe will deliver the highest social and financial returns. Users are also encouraged to review and comment on the featured businesses and post questions to the entrepreneurs. To reward user participation, Innovation Scouts has created an online store where successful investors are able to trade in their virtual currency.

The eventual goal of this platform is to construct the bridge between virtual “test” investments and real investments, where potential social investors would be able to monitor the trade activity and performance of the participating enterprises prior to making investment decisions. Innovation Scouts has the support of the [ANDE Network]( http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/aspen-network-development-entr...), whose members have been active users of its platform.

What role can CHMI play? We are excited to be exploring potential collaborative partnerships with Innovation Scouts in order to bring to the forefront promising social enterprises in health. You, the members of the CHMI community, are all scouts with the power to highlight promising opportunities to interested social investors. We encourage everyone to visit [Innovation Scouts](http://www.rootchangescouts.org/homepagelight) to learn more about this exciting initiative.