Last week in Oxford, Paul Cheng (Senior Investment Manager) and Rob Hodgkinson (Investment Executive) from CAF Venturesome gave two talks on social investment to packed crowds at the OxfordJam event which coincides with the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.
In their first talk, Paul and Rob spoke about how the UK social investment market can learn from the global microfinance industry. These learnings and insights from microfinance are the subject of CAF Venturesome’s latest publication 'The Impact Investor's Handbook', which has now been widely acclaimed amongst the impact investing community around the world.
Key learnings include the need to coordinate early sources of grant capital in order to prove experimental fund models, the role of guarantee funds, the importance of information transparency and clarity about business models in an emerging market, and the danger of “mission drift” when pursuing commercial returns.
In their second talk over lunch, called “Impact Investing Confidential”, Paul and Rob tackled some of the taboo subjects in the sector.
One of the biggest taboos is the fact that the sector remains fragile, with few impact investment funds in existence, and those that do exist have limited track records. Actual impact is unclear, terminology is opaque and major market infrastructure remains wanting - this includes advisory services, corporate finance functions, secondary markets, and benchmarks.
To cap it all off, Paul and Rob were also interviewed on film by the lovely people at OxfordJam.
Paul and Rob: Lessons from the World of Microfinance from Oxford Jam.
You can also see a twitter feed of the most interesting tweets, comments and pictures around the events by visiting the Guardian.