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Invest for Impact
April 09, 2021

The Invest for Impact experience includes a wide variety of challenges in a WIN-WIN-WIN convergence of three elite groups: top MBA students, visionary, socially - or sustainably-minded entrepreneurs and successful impact investors, each of whom has much to learn from the others. In this competition, student teams from MBA programs around the world will play the role of impact investors. They will review the business plans of three companies and select the company they would invest in based off of both financial viability and their social or environmental impact.

The 15th annual Invest for Impact competition will be held virtually on Friday, April 9th, 2021.
By invitation only. Registration will open for invited teams in February 2021.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines impact investing as “investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.” Impact investing has experienced rapid growth over the past decade but further growth is required to provide the capital necessary to address the world’s most pressing challenges.

Invest 4 Impact Competition:
UNC developed the Invest 4 Impact competition to give students exposure to the field of impact investing. As this is a relatively new field, industry practices are changing rapidly as investors find new ways to measure impact, and develop new investment mechanisms that are more appropriate for impact focused companies.

Invest 4 Impact is designed to focus on 3 key issues: assessing impact, financing impact, and measuring impact.

Focus 1: Assessing Impact:
An investor’s intention to have a positive social or environmental impact through investments is a core tenant of impact investing. It is therefore important for any impact investor to develop an investment thesis that clearly establishes the impact they are looking to generate. Investment opportunities should be assessed against these impact goals.

Focus 2: Financing Impact:
Depending on their level of commitment to achieving impact, investors will expect financial returns anywhere between break-even and the market rate. In addition, impact investments can be made across a range of asset classes from grants to debt to traditional venture capital equity. To allow companies to focus on their impact goals it is often necessary for investors to develop creative investment mechanisms tailored to the individual firm to achieve the investor’s expected rate of return.

Focus 3: Measuring Impact:
Impact investment funds are ultimately responsible to individual investors that have contributed their money with the expectation of a financial return and a positive impact. Fund managers therefore must report on fund performance on both of these dimensions. To meet this responsibility, investors need a strong understanding of how they will measure the impact of each investment.

The Competition:
The following sections describe the updated format of the Invest 4 Impact competition and how it has been designed in order to expose students to these 3 key issues outlined above:

Past Winners
Kellogg (2007, 2016)
Oxford (2010, 2014)
Manchester (2013)
UNC (2006, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2019)
NYU Stern (2009)
Wharton (2008)
Eligible Schools
Columbia Business School
Duke - Fuqua School Of Business
Harvard Business School
Michigan Ross School Of Business
Northwestern University - Kellogg
NYU Stern School Of Business - New York University
Oxford - Said Business School
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business
University Of Manchester
Wharton School
NC State Jenkins MBA