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Impact investing has grown steadily in popularity. According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), more than 1,720 organizations manage USD 715 billion in impact investing AUM (Assets Under Management) as of the end of 2019. While investing in existing or new businesses that have a positive social impact is the primary form of impart investments, there are many forms impact investing can take with different expectations for the investor. Some refer to these differences in terms of “impact first” and “investment first” investors. But the entire field remains a topic of debate, speculation, and miscalculation and confusion. 

Impact Investing in Brief was created to provide insights and findings from research conducted at ICR on impact investing and related issues. The briefs found below are written for practitioners and interested parties but draw on scholarly foundations. The goal is to improve understanding of the promises and challenges of impact investing — drawing on the past and looking to the future.

On September 30, 2019, the Impact Investing Roundtable convened at the Institute for Corporate Governance (ICR) at the George Washington University. The topic discussed was “Increasing Impact Investing in Middle-Income Countries.” Attendees participated in an informal discussion around the challenges and potential actions to be taken related to the topic. The discussion was rich with comments and ideas, deep-rooted in the vast experience represented at the event. This document presents an assembly of the discussion, observations and insights offered during these discussions for the benefit of scholars and practitioners, without attribution or a claim of consensus.

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The needs of underserved communities around the world are painfully evident, especially in the current economic situation. It has been proven that conventional funding methods for development in these communities just does not achieve the results needed to lift these populations out of poverty. Impact investing is an underused strategy for mobilizing commercial capital to support businesses and enterprise that advance Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with real impact. Many aspects of the P3 approach could be adopted into the I2 market and accelerate the number of impact investments made.

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