White House News From London – Impact Investing in Focus

With a London dateline — in June the Obama White House shared the leadership’s perspective on the importance of impact investing in the United States (and globally). The President was at the UK’s G8 Social Impact Summit. The National Impact Initiative (“NII”) was announced by President Barack Obama — the purpose is to expand the use [of impact investing] as part of the Administration’s overall strategies and structured program for economic growth and job development.

We noted that the terms “market-based solutions” and “public-private partnerships” were weaved throughout the discussion.

In London, more than 150 government officials, business leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs, and others gathered to discuss ways to increase impact investing (to spur growth and job development) and leverage the existing and new capital being committed to advancing the Millennium Development Goals (set a decade ago).

Impact investing usually targets geographic areas (such as inner city communities), sectors, specific populations as  part of an overall effort to direct financial and other resources to vulnerable segments of the society.  SR investors are often in the vanguard of the impact investing trend.

The Obama Administration pointed out its commitment and impact investing at work:

  • Regional Innovation Clusters funded by the US Dept of Commerce and Small Business Administration (SBA) to encourage innovation and job creation.
  • The SBA’s “Impact Investment Fund” (with US$1 billion committed) and a $1 billion Early Stage Fund through the SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SIBC) program.
  • US Treasury Dept invested in Freshworks Fund (addressing food “deserts” through market-based solutions).
  • OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) has $333 million committed to impact investing in sectors (healthcare, education, renewable resources, water),
  • The Accelerating Market-Driven Partnerships (initiative) is a public-private partnership organized by the US State Department to mobilize innovation and investment to address global challenges.

Each of these initiatives present opportunities for companies, financial service and investment organizations, entrepreneurs and small businesses, and other segments of the U.S. economy to leverage for their own impact investing activities.  Looking forward, the Obama Administration officials in London said the “NII” program continues to expand to support the growth of impact investing to combine (1) a market-oriented approach with (2) strong focus on the public interest (the “common good”).

You can find out more – and seek your own impact investing opportunities – by tuning in to the National Impact Initiative.

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