Impact Investing — what it is and how young entrepreneurs can help shape the world

When it comes to investing, more and more investors want to see their hard-earned dollars do something other than collect dust inside of a bank vault — they’d rather use that money to save the earth instead.

The age of social impact is booming and it’s being fueled by a different type of currency — that is, impact investing.

If you’re a young entrepreneur and you’re not up-to-speed on impact investing and how to get in on it; let’s get you caught up. After-all, how can you help change the world if you don’t know how current change is being funded?

That said, let’s get started.

Here’s a brief explanation of impact investing:

Whenever you invest in something, you want something back. What and how much you get back in return is ROI (return-on-investment). Today, a rapidly growing number of investors want more than a stack of cash in return for their investments — they want to change the world instead.

In order to change the world, for the better, companies are channeling their investment activities toward ending poverty, wiping out hunger, combating injustice, or saving natural habitats. Instead of getting cash back, their investment ROI comes by getting a healthier earth and securing a brighter future. And that is what impact investing is.

Here are 3 impact investors and their work:

When it comes to impact investing and leaving behind a lasting footprint on the earth, there are many companies committed to doing just that. Below, you’ll find three randomly selected impact investors who are leading the charge in impact investing.

Keep in mind, there are many companies out there involved in impact investing. When you have the time, try searching for other impact investors creating social change in the industries you’re most drawn to.

Here they are…

The Reinvestment Fund— TRF’s investing activity creates affordable homes, quality educational opportunities, access to healthcare and healthy food, jobs and thriving businesses in American neighborhoods that need them most.

Dreamlabsa $50 million fund established to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that positively impact the lives of people. The main focus is to invest in entrepreneurs with ideas that will generate both strong social & financial returns.

Root Capital— a nonprofit social investment fund, grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing rural businesses.

Now that you have some idea of what and how impact investors are creating change, you’ll need to know how impact investors can help you.

Here’s the story of how one young entrepreneur benefited from impact investing.

In a blog published by HULT International Business School, Kylee McCumber, a young entrepreneur is featured. Kylee, at age 10 vowed to do something about the impact of hunger on her schoolmates.

To help solve the hunger problems at her school, Kylee started Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz, a nonprofit organization that provides food to 445 school children each week! That’s That’s 21, 360 meals a year!!!!

Today Kylee is a teenager and she has no plans to slow down. So, how does a young person at age 10 successfully tackle hunger in her school? Kylee’s secret sauce is written on her website. It reads….

With the support of family, friends, and our community we are now providing food to [hundreds] of children on a weekly basis.

Kylee is smart and humble. She credits her supporters for her accomplishments. Part of her supporting team are impact investors. Some of the world’s biggest brands support Kylee’s work: Welch’s, Fruit Snacks, French’s, Sodexo Foundation, Stop Hunger, Burdette Beckmann Inc., Vistar, and Promotion In Motion Inc., to name a few.

These companies believe in Kylee’s work and are willing to invest in her vision. In turn, Kylee’s nonprofit will continue to flourish for years to come. He investors can see their impact with every child that is fed. And that is what impact investing can do for you!

How can young entrepreneurs partner with impact investors?

It starts with a vision or an idea. Then, put your feet to the ground and start making change.

We all have lofty dreams and goals, however, it’ll take baby steps to get to the top of the mountain. So start small.

If you want to build an airport in your region, try spreading the benefits of sky-travel to your neighbors or your social media connections. It only takes a seed to grow a forest.

One very important thing to remember is, impact investors are more open to helping you fund your work if you are already active. Having an idea or vision is a great start, however, you’ll need some skin in the game to really gain momentum— not much, but some.

Volunteering is another way for you to connect with potential impact investors. Through volunteering, you not only display your commitment to a specific cause, you build trust with the impact investor you’re volunteering for. And trust is what it will take to be heard and make sustainable change.

If you’re not sure what impact investors you would like to connect with, do a bit of research to see what companies align with your interests. LinkedIn is a great place to start connecting and building relationships with impact investors.

If you haven’t read the Ye! Community post “What I Wish Everyone Knew About Youth-Adult Partnerships” give it a read. It’ll give you further understanding of the importance of building strategic relationships.

In the meantime…

This is a great time to learn more about impact investing. It’s a huge part of the social economy and global sustainability. For entrepreneurs, that means new and exciting ways to get funded and secure a hopeful tomorrow.

What are you waiting for — go change something!

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