The continuous growth of the impact investment community

The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world’s most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, clean technology, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.

But those involved in this relatively new field also need support developing their capabilities and skills to develop investments that help to address long-term complex social and environmental problems.

The Oxford Impact Investing Programme aims to do precisely that, bringing together leaders from finance, social enterprises, NGOs and philanthropic foundations to discuss recent developments, future progress and urgent issues on impact investment. This year SEIF joined the more than 50 people from all over the globe attending the Programme to learn more about this potentially essential element in the growth and consolidation of social entrepreneurship.

To the impressive address of the power of collective philanthropy by Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, it followed a group work and coaching sessions on the practical aspects of impact investment such as the structuring of a fund or the development of one’s own impact investing strategy.

All the learnings were strengthened and exemplified by real life case studies from which attendees could learn about the practicalities of impact investment.

The role and diversity of the actors actively involved in this field was also discussed, emphasising the importance of including financial institutions and large corporations as well as smaller foundations and social organisations to ensure new forms of cooperation where the tasks and role of each actors are clearly defined in an innovative way.

There were also discussions around the crucial role of the state in creating a more dynamic impact investment sector, although the active involvement of this player is still very limited outside the UK.

In this sense, the Swiss impact investment community has still some way to go, but SEIF is confident that programs like this one contribute to the transfer of knowledge and therefore trigger the more active role required for a solid and sustainable impact investment field in the country.