Hogan Lovells Funds New Social Finance Role to Help Social Enterprise

LONDON, 16 November 2010 - Through its office in London and in other markets, Hogan Lovells has committed to providing a package of financial and pro bono support to the value of £100,000 to Ashoka to help grow the international social enterprise sector.

Ashoka is the world's leading non-governmental organisation supporting social entrepreneurs who create solutions to social problems. It supports more than 2,500 leading social entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries, tackling social issues from healthcare and human rights to environmental protection and relieving poverty.

Hogan Lovells' support has allowed Ashoka to appoint a new Director of Social Finance to help its network of global social entrepreneurs, or Fellows, to identify new sources of finance beyond traditional grant-making to expand their activities. Mark Cheng, founder of social finance advisory firm Chelwood Capital, has been appointed to this position. 

Cheng said: “Finding better ways to unlock sustainable long-term capital is a critical need for all social enterprises. I’m looking forward to working with Ashoka Fellows to bring in new sources of social capital to help them expand their projects”. 

Lawyers from Hogan Lovells' finance and corporate practices will also be involved in delivering pro bono advice to the Ashoka Fellows who secure social financing. 

Andres Falconer, Head of Ashoka UK, said “We need new thinking to ensure that funds are directed to those investment ideas that have the potential to create significant social impact.  The Hogan Lovells package of both financial and pro bono legal advice is an innovation which will help direct funds to social entrepreneurs who have the potential to create system-changing ideas to tackle social and environmental issues in a very practical way."

Crispin Rapinet Pro Bono Co Chair said: "Our sponsorship demonstrates Hogan Lovells' commitment to fostering the growth of leading social entrepreneurs who make a real difference to the global communities in which they work. This business approach will hopefully generate an alternative investment income to support the expansion and sustainability of these social projects. Furthermore, this investment embodies our values in terms of its ability to combine our technical excellence with a focus on practical solutions, which will offer us an opportunity to reinforce our one team worldwide approach."

This contribution enhances the already strong relationship Hogan Lovells and predecessor firm, Lovells, has built with Ashoka over the years, providing pro bono advice to some of its Fellows, for projects such as Dialogue in the Dark, Blue Ventures and Oro Verde.  Hogan Lovells already provides lawyers to work in a variety of countries with Ashoka Fellows as part of its International Pro Bono Fellowship programme.

The Hogan Lovells team in New York is now working with the organisation to overcome obstacles to roll out a programme across the U.S., while in Munich the Intellectual Property team are dealing with licensing issues and global trademark registrations.

Hogan Lovells has also been instrumental in advising Ashoka Fellow, Catalina Cock, who created Ore Verde to promote 'green' gold mining techniques to assist small communities on the edge of the Colombian rain forest. A team of three lawyers working in Colombia supported by colleagues in London have been involved in advising the charity on brand protection, licences and advising on securing the fair trade classification.

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