Impact Investing Goes to School: What researchers have learned about the sector – and how much they still don’t know
Cathy Clark, the founder and director of the i3 initiative, has been working at the crossroads of academic research and impact investing for over two decades. We caught up with her at last week's SOCAP15 conference to discuss where the field is heading, how it's being impacted by the academic world, and how much researchers still don't understand.
In June, the F.B. Heron Foundation announced that it was moving 100 percent of its assets into impact investments, aiming to complete the process by the end of 2017. On September 30, the foundation's president Clara Miller joined NextBillion for a live Google Hangout. We discussed Heron’s bold move – and the lessons it has learned from its efforts to align its capital with its mission. You can view the replay in this post.
Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship in Latin America: An interview with Agora Partnerships’ CEO Ben Powell
As Ben Powell, its founder and CEO puts it, Agora Partnerships "accelerates entrepreneurs that are solving social and environmental problems in Latin America." Powell describes the process – including some surprising challenges most entrepreneurs face – and discusses emerging trends in social business and investing in this video interview.
Needed: A ‘Facebook’ for Impact Investing: Why the sector needs to embrace failure – and also produce some inspiring successes
Impact investing has had some notable success stories, but no true breakout companies that – like Facebook – can inspire public attention and draw more entrepreneurs and investors to the sector. That's a problem, says Vox Capital director Daniel Izzo – as is the fear of failure, both financial and social, among investors. He discusses these challenges, and some possible solutions, in this video Q&A.
Needed: Naïve People with Stupid Ideas: An interview with Intellecap co-founder and director Vineet Rai
When Intellecap was founded in 2002, few people would have predicted that it would become a social business and investing powerhouse. According to co-founder and director Vineet Rai, the company’s early years were defined by failure. He discusses the lessons he learned from these failures (and subsequent successes), Intellecap’s unique model and future plans, and many other topics in this wide-ranging video Q&A.
A Revolution in the Making: CGAP’s Greg Chen discusses how smartphones could transform financial inclusion and microfinance
Smartphone sales are exploding in emerging economies, with Latin America and the Middle East/Africa recording growth rates of 59 percent and 83 percent, respectively, last year. CGAP’s Greg Chen discusses how this new access could transform low-income people’s interactions with their financial services providers in this video Q&A, the latest in our series on the Future of Microfinance.
‘By making it available to people, you are almost by definition doing good’: Grameen Foundation CEO Alex Counts, on microfinance’s past and future
Microfinance has careened from hero to villain status over the years, before settling into its current persona as a useful but not transformative anti-poverty tool. Alex Counts has had a front-row seat in the sector’s turbulent development, as founder and long-time president/CEO of Grameen Foundation. He shares his frank perspectives on microfinance’s past and future in this video Q&A.
- Impact Assessment
‘This isn’t what we had once hoped it would be … so what should we do?’: Dean Karlan discusses the influential new studies on microcredit’s social impact
Discussion of the six recent microcredit RCTs has followed two general tracks. Within the sector, it has focused on how the studies can be used to improve products and social impact. But outside the sector, it has focused on how microcredit hasn’t lived up to the hype. Both of those currents came to the fore in our Q&A with Dean Karlan, President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action.