Impact Investing in Brazil

Rosemary Ventura ’16 explored her passion for impacting investing this summer in São Paulo, Brazil, through an internship with the innovative investing fund Vox Capital.

This summer Rosemary Ventura ’16 explored her passion for impacting investing by interning with Vox Capital, an innovative organization in São Paulo, Brazil. The self-designed internship was sponsored by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.

Ventura, an Economics and Spanish double major with a concentration in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Studies, developed an interest in impact investing after taking a seminar on the subject with Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics Shannon Mudd. Impact investing is known for having a “double bottom line” because it aims to generate a financial return as well as a positive social benefit. Professor Mudd’s course, part of Haverford’s new Microfinance and Impact Investing Initiative (Mi3), granted Ventura and her classmates the opportunity to attend meetings at the local chapter of Investors’ Circle (IC), an impact angel network. After listening to pitches by entrepreneurs and screening potential investments, the class ultimately made an investment recommendation to the foundation of a Haverford alumnus. The experience inspired Ventura to pursue impact investing as an independent study the following semester.

When looking for summer work, Ventura was drawn to Vox Capital because the fund developed two innovative practices to ensure their investments make the maximum possible social impact. First, the fund operates according to a co-creation methodology that involves working with community leaders in low-income communities to develop business ideas. Second, the fund’s remuneration is dependent upon both the financial performance and the social impact of an investment.

Ventura’s internship was mainly focused on creating a five-year report on Vox Capital’s progress and impact. She says that one of the most interesting aspects of the project was interviewing the diverse array of individuals associated with the fund: staff members, investors, strategic partners, social entrepreneurs, and low-income clients. When not working on the report, Ventura developed a strategic outreach plan to promote the fund’s image through social media and other publications. Ventura says the projects she worked on provided important insights into impact investing and inequality in Brazil, and she has a positive outlook on the future of the field.

“Many people argue that our age cohort—the millennials—are demanding more socially-oriented jobs,” says Ventura, “and I think that this energy and passion could allow the global impact investing sector to reach a scale at which it significantly changes ‘business as usual.’ ”

—Sam Fox ’14