In Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Cohen Ties Impact Investing to Solving Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Thursday, April 14, 2016
It was a hot morning down the street from the Knesset. With a backdrop of Jerusalem’s Malcha Technology Park to the left and minister-busing choppers flying to the left, and a blistering sun overhead, Forbes brought dozens of entrepreneurs from around the world to listen to leaders of co-creation and co-existence organizations discuss social entrepreneurship, conflict resolution, and startup pivoting.
When I showed up to cover the event, I expected Forbes to use social entrepreneurship as an excuse to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the day. If you only came to hear Sir Ronald Cohen, you wouldn’t have had that impression at all.
Sir Ronald Cohen is the chair of the social investment bank Big Society and a pioneer in a concept called the “social impact bond” (SIB), a bond like any other except that it pays out money not based on interest collected, but based on the measure of social impact a business’s products or services have had in a given community. Launching with an emphasis on the spirit of innovation that younger entrepreneurs can bring to communities, he described the bond’s novel concept.
“The social impact bond enables a social entrepreneur to raise millions of dollars just like a business would and get paid out by foundations or a government after 5 to 7 years according to the improvement being made to people’s lives or in the environment.”