Community Partner Spotlight – Bridges Ventures Offers Hands-on Impact Investing

Bridges Ventures
http://www.bridgesventures.com/
 
 
 
 
 
 

At ten leading business schools across the country, students are investing in impact.

Students get the unique opportunity to try their hand at investing thanks to an innovative program called MBA Impact Investing Network & Training, or MIINT.

A program run by Bridges IMPACT+, the advisory arm of fund manager Bridges Ventures, MIINT is an experiential program that educates the impact sphere’s future leaders.  MIINT gives students the opportunity to think like an impact investor.  With guidance from MIINT faculty, composed of leaders at Bridges Ventures, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, and JK&B Capital, and guest lecturers, students at 10 of the country’s top business schools learn to develop an investment strategy, consider impact, and source and diligence investments. Ultimately, they present to an investment committee for a potential angel investment of $50,000.

MIINT fills a gap in traditional MBA course offerings.  As evidenced by the rapid expansion of the Global Social Venture Competition, headquartered at Haas, social entrepreneurship is energizing campuses across the world. Few business schools, however, teach classes on impact investing, and fewer still offer hands-on learning opportunities. That’s why a program like MIINT is so crucial to students.

Maya Tobias, co-founder Haas Impact Investing Network

Maya Tobias, co-founder Haas Impact Investing Network

“Haas is already known for its strong social impact focus—we have centers and clubs for social enterprise, non-profit, and CSR—but impact investing has been a missing link in our school. It’s a burgeoning and evolving field and it’s important to have Haas’ path bending leaders at the forefront of helping to shape this space,” says Haas MBA Maya Tobias. Maya, along with Tammy Guo and Karthik Suryanarayanan, is one of the co-founders of the Haas Impact Investing Network (HIIN), a program at Haas run in partnership with Bridges Ventures.

“We chose to start HIIN to ensure that students at Haas were exposed to the exciting program that Bridges began two years ago,” notes Maya, referring to MIINT. The club received an enthusiastic response to their application when the program commenced in September. A growing number of prospective students are inquiring about the space and HIIN aims to further solidify Haas as a place for socially minded and innovative leaders.

MIINT is also valuable on a wider scale.

Haas MBAs sit in a global video conference training hosted by Bridges Ventures

Haas MBAs sit in a national video conference training hosted by Bridges Ventures

Educating next generation impact leaders through MIINT is valuable not only for Bridges but for the sector as a whole. As more mainstream investors channel capital into the nascent impact investing sector, the more the sector will need human capital to source investments and measure their impact.

Bridges hopes that MIINT will encourage MBA students to question traditional businesses and nonprofit models and explore better ways to achieve impact.  Bridges dismisses as a myth the claim that business results are incompatible with social results.

Effective business models are grounded in the finding of a solution to a problem.  Bridges recommends that MBA students look at today’s most pressing problems – limited access to healthcare and education, threats posted by climate change – and ask if there is a business approach to effectively addressing these problems.

Established in the U.K. in 2002, Bridges Ventures uses an impact-driven investment approach to create superior returns for both investors and society. It manages over $500M across three fund types: Sustainable Growth Funds, Sustainable Property Funds, and Social Sector funds. Bridges IMPACT+ also offers practitioner-led advisory services to a range of clients including NGOs, and produces annual thought leadership pieces.

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