Diana Hollmann

Impact Investing Forum Coming Up ? Testing the ground in Europe

Just recently, SOCAP founder Kevin Jones announced that SOCAP will be coming to Europe in 2011 and asked “Is Europe ready for SOCAP?” Jonathan Jenkins, Director of Ventures at UK-based consultancy UnLtd, answered in a blog post: “Maybe not!”

But is there really a lack of interest on issues like impact investing in Europe? I doubt it! Just a few months ago, I recruited impact investors for the Keystone Performance Survey: Social Investment. Next to the well-known “usual suspects” from the U.S., quite a number of European investors and intermediaries were on my contact list. Admittedly, their count was lower than their U.S. counterparts, but quantity is not necessarily an indication for quality or interest.

The upcoming Impact Investing Forum 2010 will be a great test to see where Europe stands. From Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, institutional and private investors, foundations, social investment funds and all those already active in or interested in entering the field are invited to come to London for a series of workshops and panels to dive deeper on current issues.

I had the chance to speak to Amy Miller, of Hanson Wade, who is setting up the forum, to find out more about what to expect.

Diana Hollmann: Why did you choose London, a leading center for hedge fund investors not commonly known for their socially oriented investments, as a venue for the Impact Investing Forum 2010?

Amy Miller: At our Microfinance events in Europe everyone kept talking about their interest in impact investing. It was off the back of this that the idea to bring impact investing event to Europe came about. We thought about the Netherlands, France and Switzerland as possible locations as interest in these hubs are huge. However, London is both home to impact investors and social enterprises like Bridges Ventures and Big Issue Invest as well as a financial hub. We felt that this was a great combination to attract those who are dedicated to bringing the impact investing agenda to the center stage.

DH: You interviewed Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest, who will also speak at the Forum. Referring to impact investments as a “new asset class”, he said that “the hardest thing for investors to see is that we’re creating something innovative.” How will the Impact Investing Forum contribute for investors to do so?

AM: The Impact Investing Forum will allow investors and investment managers alike to discuss and debate the intricacies of Impact Investing through workshops and case studies. The conference will also bring together leading minds in impact investing from Europe and further afield, including Beth Richardson from US-based GIIRS, Vineet Rai from India-based Aavishkaar and Rob Lake from APG in the Netherlands. Discussion in a forum such as this is the first step to understanding how others in the industry are working and what innovations are taking place.


For more information on the event have a look at the conference agenda and brochure and feel free to contact Amy via email if you have any questions. NextBillion.net readers will get a discount of 10% – just enter the discount code “nextBillion”.

Let’s see if Europe is ready for impact investing – hope to see you at the Forum!

impact investing