Impact Investing and Social Entrepreneurship are both “works in progress.” This course focuses on how the search for expansion capital by social entrepreneurs is playing out at the deal level. What challenges do social entrepreneurs face as they search for growth capital? Who are the investors and what do they seek in terms of return and social/environmental impact? What equity and debt structures are available to social ventures (both non-profit and for-profit)? How do they differ from conventional investments? Finally, how are these financing options affected by innovative corporate structures (e.g., B-Corp, L3C) and Impact Investment metrics (e.g., GIIRS)?
Students explore these questions by looking at specific examples of domestic and international social ventures that need risk capital to grow. Through class assignments and contact with practitioners, every student will understand the existing capital opportunities for non-profit and for-profit social ventures and how impact investments are structured.
This course is designed for MBA students who seek to understand the forms of risk capital available to grow social ventures “to scale,” because they plan to: (a) pursue social entrepreneurship as a career; b) pursue a career in impact investing; or (c) support social ventures at some point in their career as board members, investors, or advisors. Students with venture capital experience are welcome but may find some material repetitive.
Rick Larson was a Columbia Business School faculty member from to 2016.