• Calling out for a “Geneva Consensus” on Impact Investing

    Geneva, Switzerland – December 12, 2011

    Together with the World Microfinance Forum Geneva (WMFG), Impact Economy recently invited a select circle of practitioners for a lunch meeting focused on discussing how investibility in the impact investing space can be enhanced. The event, held at Geneva’s “Cercle de la Terrasse”, saw Impact Economy presenting the findings of a new pre-study on impact investment products, which will lead to further research in 2012, and calling out for a “Geneva Consensus” on impact investing. The firm’s founder Dr. Maximilian Martin argued that we need to find ways to catalyze converging action and a shared mindset in Europe – similarly to the “Washington Consensus” in its effectiveness of convergence of approaches, but very different in terms of its contents. Considering these elements and the discussion, it is the right time for European actors to get together and prove what they are capable of, so as to complement the better-documented work of the Anglo-Saxon pioneers on impact investing.

  • Speaking at Beyond Sport Summit in Cape Town

    Cape Town, South Africa – December 5-8, 2011

    Impact Economy Founder and Global Managing Director Dr. Maximilian Martin had the pleasure to participate as a panelist at the 3rd Beyond Sport Summit in Cape Town, South Africa. This annual event brought together leaders in business, sport, development, government, academia and philanthropy with the single aim of promoting and celebrating how sport can inspire positive social change in communities around the world. A unique combination of networking opportunities, insightful panels and interactive workshops allowed those who use sports as a catalyst for social change to challenge and inspire business and government leaders all around the world – and together increase the scope and influence of unique initiatives. Some of the world’s most influential figures – such as former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, South Africa’s most capped footballer Lucas Radebe, and Olympic legend Michael Johnson – participated at this encouraging event. Dr. Martin spoke at the main social enterprise plenary together with Tracey Webster, CEO of the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Maria Bobenrieth, Executive Director of Women Win, before an audience of over 700 people on the final and climatic day of the summit. The panel was moderated by mountaineer Deshun Deysel, who participated in 1996 in South Africa’s first-ever Everest expedition.

  • Impact Investing: More Than a Hype?

    Zürich, Switzerland – December 2, 2011

    The Ethics’ Center of the University of Zurich organized its 1st workshop on Impact Investing, aimed at bringing together a diverse group of practitioners and researchers to discuss current issues in this emerging field, such as whether or not there are trade-offs between social impact and profit, or the theoretical importance vs. practical implementation of social metrics and impact measurement. Dr. Maximilian Martin was invited to present his Impact Economy working paper on “Understanding the True Potential of Hybrid Financing Strategies for Social Entrepreneurs”. During the following discussion Dr. Martin was asked why the paper focused on this particular type of “inspiring social entrepreneur”, which appeared to be a rather North American and ideal leader type, instead of including the potential contribution large players and companies could bring to the table. Dr. Martin elaborated that currently we can observe an evolutionary process in social entrepreneurship, where more and more people enter the space, transforming social entrepreneurship into a social movement. As social entrepreneurship evolves and goes through different phases, financing needs are also changing: adapting financing instruments, not just mixing the conventional ones, becomes crucial.

  • 11th Symposium of Swiss Foundations: Doing by Learning

    Lausanne, Switzerland – November 24, 2011

    Numerous representatives of the Swiss foundation space gathered in the Rolex Learning Center of EPFL, in Lausanne, to discuss the challenges foundations in Switzerland are currently facing. The 11th symposium of Swiss Foundations took place in the context of an increasing importance of the foundation sector. The symposium provided a platform to share insights and experiences on issues such as: a decrease in capital returns and asset management; how to revitalize existing foundations and adapt strategies to new realities; the changing role of the foundation board; or the prospect and practical handling of increasing cooperation between foundations. After a morning of inspiring and informative plenary sessions, the symposium participants joined a range of parallel interactive discussion panels. At Impact Economy, we believe that getting first principles right is key for superior performance and impact. Thus, Dr. Maximilian Martin was delighted to moderate the panel titled “Le conseil de foundation sur la sellette” (The foundation board in the spotlight). The panel inquired what the Swiss Foundation Code 2009 recommendation – “the foundation board leads the foundation” – actually means in practice. The recommendation iterates the main function of the board as the foundation’s highest strategic governing body, but which foundation would have ever argued that it was not acting strategically?

  • Impact Economy Fully Operational in Latin America after Successful Launch

    Buenos Aires, Argentina – November 18, 2011

    Impact Economy officially launched its Latin American operation with a working breakfast at the Sede Social of Buenos Aires’ Jockey Club. Impact Economy (Argentina) SRL will be headquartered in Buenos Aires, managed by Agustina O’Farrell who is currently building a regional team. We expect the team to rapidly gain a prominent position in the sector and grow accordingly, by delivering new insight and tailored solutions/services targeted to individuals and organizations. At the launch event, Dr. Maximilian Martin and Agustina O’Farrell presented the objectives and value proposition of the firm to our 50 guests. Corine Dykmans, project leader of the Trafigura Foundation, co-host of the event, presented the mission of the foundation and its funded projects: amongst them, Cascos Verdes, a Buenos Aires-based civil non-profit, represented at the event by Matías Alonso, its Executive Director. Cascos Verdes works for social inclusion and environmental conservation, where people with mental disabilities first gain access to university education and then serve as environmental educators to all members of the community.

  • Sustainability and the Green Economy at the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Geneva

    Geneva, Switzerland – November 14-20, 2011

    The annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) takes center stage all across the world. The GEW is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. For 2011, 123 countries have just celebrated the official opening, with a full schedule of events and activities taking place. In Geneva, the opening session held on Monday morning at the United Nations had Dr. Maximilian Martin, Founder and Global Managing Director of Impact Economy, amongst the panelists. Starting from the key role that entrepreneurs can play in tackling our world’s troubles, the session placed a special focus on the environment and the so-called “Green Economy”, an area in which Impact Economy is highly involved through its partnership with R20 – Regions for Climate Action.

  • Offering a Full Immersion into Social Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen

    St. Gallen, Switzerland – November 2-5, 2011

    For the eighth consecutive year, Dr. Maximilian Martin held his intensive 4-day course on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen. Once more, students had a chance to learn about the role that social entrepreneurs can increasingly play, and are indeed already playing, in solving our world’s challenges. From the big names in the field - Bill Drayton, Mohammed Yunus, or Dr. V – who set the foundations of this category of individuals, to the lesser known stories that don’t always make the headlines, Dr. Martin took his students along a journey into social and environmental entrepreneurship.

  • Impact Economy’s Dr. Martin in the jury at Euforia’s “imp!act 2011”

    Geneva, Switzerland – October 26-30, 2011

    Impact Economy Global Managing Director Dr. Maximilian Martin had the pleasure of being part of the jury at “imp!act 2011”, an event organized by Euforia from October 26-30, in Geneva. Euforia is a “by youth, for youth” non-profit organization whose work aims at mobilizing and supporting young people. Winner of the 2008 Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition, the organization operates primarily in Switzerland and organizes events such as the abovementioned “imp!act” and “STEP into action”, targeting 800 high school students to raise awareness about global challenges and the possible solutions to fight against them.