Does Impact Investing Work? Vital Capital Case Study Shows It Does

Friday, June 28, 2013

When General Wesley K. Clark first heard about the idea of impact investing, he was skeptical. One trip to Angola convinced him that it had the potential to lift people out of poverty in ways that philanthropy and humanitarian aid could not. “This is the only way it will work,” he told me.

In April, while attending the Milken Institute Global Conference, I had the opportunity to visit with General Clark about his role as an advisor to Vital Capital. There he explained the process by which he concluded that there is a social impact role for profit seeking in the developing world.

• Does the need for a return on the capital invested impair the social impact?

• How do you manage a project to have both social impact and economic returns?

• How do nonprofits, governments and investors work together to greatest effect?

• Can a successful investment on one place be replicated in another?

Bottom line: I wanted to know if impact investing actually works to create the social benefits it aspires to make. So, with these questions in mind, I boarded a plane for a 30-hour trip from Salt Lake City to Angola.

Source: Forbes (link opens in a new window)

impact investing