Graduate Students to Design Investment Vehicles for Sustainable Impact

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Top teams from premier MBA programs will present an investment strategy for an institutional investor that will simultaneously create sustainable impact and financial return at the 2012 International Impact Investing Challenge. This event is designed to push the boundaries of impact investing and stimulate thoughtful conversation about the future of the field.

Financial vehicles that deliver social and environmental impact continue to be a growing area of interest for investors. To spur interest in this emerging field, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley are sponsoring the competition.

“Now in its second year, the International Impact Investing Challenge encourages students from graduate schools around the world to identify strategies that create solutions for global social issues – as well as deliver financial returns,” said Jamie Jones, associate director of the Social Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) program at the Kellogg School. “

Teams were invited to submit a prospectus by March 8. Eleven finalist teams will present their proposals at a final event at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco on April 13. The judging panel will be comprised of experienced officers and investors who currently manage family foundations, pension funds and university endowments, among others, and $15,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.

The Finals

The finals competition will be a day long event in San Francisco. The morning session will consist of the eleven finalist teams presenting their concepts to the panel of judges. From these eleven teams, four teams will be selected to present their concepts in an open session from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, followed by a reception from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. This is a great opportunity to hear top teams from premier graduate programs present an investment strategy for an institutional investor that will simultaneously create sustainable impact and financial return. To attend the open session and reception from 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm, register here:

Last Year’s Winners
In 2011 the winning idea was for Grain Fund Depot, a real estate investment trust (REIT) to reduce grain loss in India, building improved grain storage facilities and renting that space to small farmers in India.  
The International Impact Investing Challenge is sponsored by New World Ventures; Equilibrium Capital Group; The McCall Foundation; Forest Capital Partners LLC; Impact Assets; the Carol & Larry Levy Social Entrepreneurship Lab; the Calvert Foundation; the Milken Institute; and Water Asset Management  LLC.

“We are proud to be part of a program that challenges business school students to apply their creativity and finance education to build investment strategies that deliver market returns and impact,” said Dave Chen, managing principal at Equilibrium Capital Group. “These student projects show us that returns and positive impact are simply good investing.”