IMPACT INVESTMENT: FIRST OFF THE BLOCK IN DENMARK

Design to Improve Life Investment is all about connecting idea creators to business leaders in order to make a positive change in the world. Last night we brought together a number of businesses and foundations and took our first step towards founding the first Impact Investment Circle in Denmark!

Impact Investing is about supporting an idea that generates positive – social or environmental – impact alongside a financial return. Our mission is to create a pipeline of these investment opportunities by introducing designers with life-changing solutions to individuals and businesses who want to support them.

Last night we held the introductory reception for the Impact Investment Circle where we hosted a number of international speakers and over fifty participants from a range of Danish businesses and organisations – including the Carlsberg Foundation, Egmont Foundation
The Social Capital Fund Denmark and Danske Bank, among many others.

The evening allowed us to share our INDEX: Design to Improve Life® initiatives and future goals, as well as present a number of powerful local and global cases of impact investment. The overall purpose of the event was to appeal to Danish foundations and investors and engage them to work with us in forming an impact investment circle.

Opening the event was INDEX: Design to Improve Life® CEO Kigge Hvid, who offered guests an introduction to the organisation and specifically the Design to Improve Life Investment Programme. The US Ambassador to Denmark Mr. Rufus Gifford was present to endorse the efforts.

Speakers included Ms. Silja Nyboe Andersen from Active Philanthropy who shared examples and her experiences of creating value through impact investing at the Big Issue Foundation in London. Changing consumer and value behaviours, the rise of social enterprises, and her main interests in the growing momentum of next generation of wealth holders were the key aspects of why she felt there is hope for the future.

Professor Dr. Harry Hummels gave an in-depth insight into what impact investing is and how it is a financial design for a sustainable future, as well as illustrating what the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) are doing to grow the industry worldwide.

Sharing a perspective from an entrepreneurial point of view, Director and Developer of Kiva.org – a former INDEX: Award winner in 2009 – Ms. Liezl Van Riper gave a presentation about the evolution of Kiva.org and how micro-finance is changing the lives of people not only in developing countries but also small entrepreneurs and businesses in the US as well.

Concluding the presentations was Mr. Eric-Alan Rapp – Founder of Homemate and former Co-Founder of Sunstone Capital – delivered his speech entitled ‘Profit with Purpose: a view from the trenches’ about his own experiences in venture capital, corporate finance and entrepreneurialism. Rapp’s latest project, Homemate, a scalable food solution created to offer respite to families who are constrained by contemporary living brought the message closer to home for participants.

INDEX: Design to Improve Life® Strategy and Programme Director, Ms. Liza Chong says overall the event was a huge success.

“It is so motivating to see local stakeholders interested in seeing examples of how impact investing is gaining critical mass globally,” she said.

“We believe that this Circle will be where the Danish investor community across the spectrum can come together, learn from one another and shape the way impact investment can be contextually fitting in Denmark.”

Design to Improve Life Investment would like to thank all speakers and participants of the launch. We look forward to taking the next steps and building an eco-system across disciplines to use the power of capital for social and environmental good, with all involved.

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