Photo deep_schismic @ flickr.
Singer and celebrity Björk has become something of a sustainability whirlwind. Björk's already been vocal about her opposition to a proposed aluminum smelter for the economically-challenged country of Iceland. After she did an environmental benefit concert earlier this year called Nattura and became depressed at the thought that the show would do little to deter aluminum smelter proponents, she wrote a chaotic song (also called Nattura) and launched it on ITunes in October. That led her to a trip round Iceland to find sustainable business ideas and tell the government about them. Finally, this month, Björk gave her name, her image, and an undisclosed sum of money to a new venture capital fund dedicated to getting money to the best and brightest local businesses.
Audur Capital is a relatively new wealth management and venture capital fund, and its two founders, both women, believe that business investments need more of the female perspective. Audur will run the Björk Fund, which currently has 100 million Icelandic kronor (about $826,000) in funds, and will look for additional investment money until approximately March 2009.
Investing in Iceland: A Risky Business?
Iceland's banking industry collapsed during this fall's economic and financial meltdown, mainly due to risky investments and a run on the banks when foreign investors, many British, collapsed. Unfortunately the International Monetary Fund predict that Iceland's economy will contract by nearly 10 percent next year.
But Audur's founders said they are seeking out all proposals for small and early stage businesses that can combine economic sustainability with environmental and social welfare concerns. Audur said winning business proposals will "create value through the uniqueness of Iceland's nature and its culture" and that the fund is particularly interested in companies "that exploit our well educated human capital." The businesses that Björk will fund will also fund will have "access to a growing market" which Iceland itself may not be - the country of less than 350,000 people currently has an unemployment rate of about 5.4% - last year it was .8%. However, Icelanders are known for their hardy and frugal ways. Let's hope Björk and her fund succeed. Via: Bloomberg
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