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Posts Tagged ‘impact investing’

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Impact Investing

Monday, August 29th, 2016

A recent article on Forbes.com noted that questions about impact investing have undergone a significant shift, from “What is impact investing?” to “How do I do impact investing?”

Three New Hampshire institutions −Live Free & Start, the NH Charitable Foundation and the NH Community Loan Fund − answer that question for Granite State investors and prospective investors. The fifth in a series of public forums, Investing in New Hampshire, will be held from 4:30 t0 7 pm, Sept. 22, at SNS, 775 Industrial Park Rd., Littleton.

“A successful startup ecosystem and strong business climate require, among other things, access to capital,” said Mark Kaplan, a Live Free & Start advisory council member and chairman of its Capital Access committee. “This focus by LFS comes as the state’s five incubators and other economic development groups are creating a vibrant startup ecosystem and angel groups have a desire to become more active. These seminars will educate people about opportunities to invest in New Hampshire, making capital more available to entrepreneurs.”

The forum features representatives of the three presenting organizations describing what they offer to impact investors:

  • Kaplan;
  • John Hamilton, vice president of Economic Opportunity at the NH Community Loan Fund;
  • Kevin Peterson, senior program officer at the NH Charitable Foundation

“Live Free & Start is not an investor or conduit for investment, but it can stimulate and catalyze activities leading to investment,” Kaplan said. “The first step in doing that was a very-well-attended angel conference that has led to new members in angel groups. The next step are these forums, which take a broader view of the opportunities to invest with impact in New Hampshire through other means as well.”

Hamilton said the Community Loan Fund has welcomed impact investments for more than three decades.

“Our options range from Opportunity NH Investments, which pay fixed-rate returns and support job creation and retention, affordable housing, child care and other vital community services, to potentially higher-yield co-investments in growing businesses,” he said.

“We made our very first impact investment in 1971, by providing a loan to preserve historic buildings in Harrisville,” said Peterson. “Working alongside our grant and scholarship dollars, impact investing creates an opportunity to make sizeable, long-term investments to strengthen New Hampshire communities.”

“Through our impact-investment program, we can invest philanthropic capital in innovative business ventures and solid nonprofit organizations aligned with our mission to improve community well-being.”

The presentations will finish at 6 p.m., followed by a networking reception at which attendees can ask questions. All are free and open to prospective and current investors and to philanthropists. This event is for educational purposes only; it’s not intended for individuals or businesses seeking investment or capital.

The seminar is free, but registration is required.

5 Questions with John Hamilton, New Hampshire Community Loan Fund

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Part of the growing local movement in the United States is an awareness that people can invest their dollars in ways that positively affect their communities, while also earning a return. Throughout this year, three Granite State institutions−Live Free & Start, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund−are teaming up to present a series of forums called Impact Investing in New Hampshire. We asked one of the presenters, Community Loan Fund VP of Economic Opportunity, John Hamilton, about the series. You can visit the Live Free and Start website to see the schedule and register for one or more of the events.

John Hamilton ~ Community Loan Fund

John Hamilton ~ Community Loan Fund

1. Impact investing will be the topic of a number of forums around the state this year. What is impact investing?

Many people are familiar with “socially responsible investing,” which avoids investments in certain industries or activities that the investor finds objectionable.

Impact investing is a more intentional approach for the investor that seeks to support specific social or environmental outcomes—such as more good jobs in New Hampshire— and earn a financial return.

A common misconception is that impact investing doesn’t provide a positive financial return. However, recent reports and years of investments show that impact investors don’t have to sacrifice earnings.

So we’re excited to partner with Live Free and Start and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to bring this information to current and prospective investors across New Hampshire. We’re holding six Investing in NH forums in which each of the organizations will present various ways individuals can have a positive impact on the people and businesses of the Granite State through impact investments.

2. How important is this kind of investing to the state’s business ecosystem?

Impact investments can be more flexible, timely and risk-tolerant.

Flexible because impact investments often come from private sources–individuals and foundations–and without a lot of restrictions. They can deliver a range of types of capital (debt, sub debt, royalty and equity).

Timely because these investors can shape their capital to the needs of the business and react more quickly than traditional financing sources.

Risk-tolerant because some impact investors are willing to take greater risk if there is an opportunity for better returns, particularly if the investment would benefit New Hampshire’s people, communities and economy.

3. Can you give an example of where impact investors made a difference in New Hampshire?

In 2013, Rustic Crust, a natural pizza product company based in Pittsfield, needed growth capital to get its product into more grocery stores throughout North America. The Community Loan Fund had made a previous royalty investment and wanted to support this growth, but the company needed more financing than we could provide at the time.

Fortunately, we knew of an individual who was interested in co-investing with us. Together, we provided the needed capital, and Rustic Crust has since nearly doubled its number of full time jobs, while also increasing its part-time workforce.

This is particularly satisfying because a fire destroyed Rustic Crust’s production facility not long afterward. Yet because of strong management and community support, including from the company’s investor, Rustic Crust is thriving.

4. From the outside looking into New Hampshire: Will encouraging this form of investment draw more businesses or start-ups to the state?

We hope that the number and appetite of angel investors here encourage start-ups and businesses looking to relocate. There are definitely investors seeking out those kinds of opportunities.

And inasmuch as a goal of encouraging businesses to relocate or start here is to increase the number of good jobs, that goal aligns perfectly with those of many impact investors.

We know one of the motivations of some impact investors is to keep their money local. They enjoy financing projects they can drive past and feel the “I’m glad I put my money there” glow. There are many strong businesses already in New Hampshire, owned and run by our neighbors and friends, which are ready to grow and only lack the kind of flexible capital I described earlier.

5. Aside from attending one of the forums taking place throughout the state from now until the end of the year, is there a place where people can get more information or speak with someone?

The forums offer a rare chance to share the perspectives, experiences and opportunities offered by three organizations, so we hope that anyone interested in finding out what it means to be an impact investor will attend one of them. You can see the schedule and register here.

The next best option is to visit the web sites of the three participating organizations: Live Free and Start, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. You’ll find a range of local and regional opportunities. That’s a good thing−for the Granite State and for New Hampshire investors.