#224 – How is impact investment changing and what does it mean for education?
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What’s in this episode?
You know all those campaigns to divest out of fossil fuel investments and the huge positive impact this has for new ecosystems around climate change? Well, imagine if educational charities took the same approach by pro-actively investing their funds in more mission-aligned ways with the requisite step-change in funding and signalling this would unlock for educational opportunity and social good. Sounds good eh?
This podcast episode is all about Ufi VocTech Trust’s work to go beyond grant investing and venture investing to align its total investment portfolio more closely with its mission to champion the power of technology to improve skills for work.
But beyond Ufi Voctech Trust, what does this mean for other philanthropic organisations, entrepreneurs and even learners in the sector, and how did Ufi Voctech Trust take the leap from initial idea to announcement?
In this episode, we chart an exciting story that starts back in the mid-2000s and culminates this week with UK-facing vocational learning and technology charity Ufi VocTech Trust announcing the investment of its £50m plus assets using the UN Sustainable Development Goals to support the best thematic alignment of investment with Ufi’s mission, whilst meeting the charity’s financial commitments. Credit Suisse has been appointed as investment service provider, after a tendering process that engaged 100 potential providers.
In this episode, we explore what this shift in philanthropic approach means and how a holistic investment framework across all assets – grants, venture investment and investment capital – can support vocational educational technology and positive impact.
The episode is part of The VocTech Podcast series and is supported by Ufi VocTech Trust. Happy listening!
Joe is currently Impact Investment Director for Ufi where he leads the trust’s investments in ventures working with technologies for learning and skills development. Joe also leads Ufi’s work investing its core investment assets in line with its mission.
Prior to Ufi, Joe was Managing Partner at Bethnal Green Ventures, an early stage investment fund working with technology companies targeting positive outcomes for people in healthcare, education, environment and civic engagement. Joe has long been active in the UK’s social and impact investment fields, including establishing Nesta’s Impact Investment team, authoring its work on Standards of Evidence in Impact Investing and supporting the establishment of Big Society Capital. Joe began his career with TeachFirst, teaching in a secondary school in east London.
James Gifford is the Head of Impact Advisory for Credit Suisse, working with the bank’s clients and advisors to mobilise capital into impact investing. He also teaches a program at the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Zurich on impact investing for the next generation of ultra-high net worth family members. He was the founding Executive Director of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and led the organisation from inception in 2003 until 2013. Other roles include Head of Impact Investing at UBS and Director of Impact at TAU Investment Management.
James has published numerous articles and book chapters on responsible investment and has a PhD from the University of Sydney on the effectiveness of shareholder engagement in improving corporate behaviour.
Helen McDonald, UK Head of Foundations and Impact Advisory Services, Credit Suisse
Helen leads the provision of advice on sustainable and impact investment solutions to clients of Credit Suisse Private Bank in the UK, as well as leading the bank’s coverage of charities. Prior to this, she was Head of Charities at UBS in the UK and held various roles in asset management and securities sales at Goldman Sachs, S.G. Warburg and Kleinwort Benson. She was a member of the UK Government’s Taskforce on social impact investment.
Kirill Pyshkin is a senior portfolio manager in the thematic equities team at Credit Suisse. He joined the team in 2019 to focus on the edutainment theme. Pyshkin started his career in 2000 as a strategy management consultant. After completing his MBA in London, he covered the technology sector as an equity research analyst, eventually becoming a senior generalist portfolio manager. Pyshkin has extensive experience in running thematic, ESG/SRI and other global equity strategies. He earned his PhD in semiconductor physics from the University of Cambridge.
Paul Blyth, ESG investment consultant to Ufi VocTech Trust
Paul’s day job it to work with institutions and individuals helping them to invest their capital for both financial return and for positive impact. Entering his 14th year in this nascent field, Paul is often described as one of Impact Investment’s pioneers on account of his work with eBay/PayPal, European pension funds, Snowball Investment Management, and Friends Provident Foundation’s ground-breaking ESG Olympics to name a few. In his spare time, Paul’s a board member for the Church Investors Group, Chair of the Financial Inclusion Forum UK, and sits on the Investment Committee of the Friends Provident Foundation.
Sophie is the founder of the iTunes new and noteworthy, The Edtech Podcast. The mission of The Edtech Podcast is to improve the dialogue between ‘ed’ and ‘tech’ for better innovation, through storytelling. The podcast is downloaded from over 145 countries with the UK, US & Aus in the top 3. Sophie has spoken and moderated at a variety of events including SXSW EDU, Yidan Education Prize, ASU GSV Summit, and the Next Billion Edtech Summit. She is an industry mentor and advisor, a Reimagine Education, GESA Awards, Bett Awards and XPrize Adult Literacy judge, and previous Edtech50 and Edtech Digest winner.
Sophie is passionate about lifelong and everyday learning. If she’s not interviewing a University Vice-Chancellor, Edtech Investor, School Leader, or StartUp about education innovation, she’s engrossed in Teach Your Monster to Read or wrestling her lockdown baby. A keen cyclist, she has recently relocated to West Devon which she considers the English version of the Pyrenees. She is very lucky to work with a distributed team on The Edtech Podcast.
Quotes from this episode
References from this week’s episode
- Ufi Voctech Trust – Website, homepage
- Ufi Voctech – Twitter
- Ufi Voctech Trust – LinkedIn
- Catch up on previous episodes of the VocTech Podcast series here – The Edtech Podcast website link
- Joe Ludlow – LinkedIn
- Joe Ludlow – Twitter
- James Gifford – LinkedIn
- James Gifford – Twitter
- Helen McDonald – LinkedIn
- Kirill Pyshkin – LinkedIn
- Credit Suisse – Twitter
- Paul Blyth – LinkedIn
- UN Sustainable Development Goals – link to goals on UN website
- Credit Suisse – Sustainable Investing – Link to page on CS website
- Impact Management Project – Website
- TheImPact.org (Family Office) – Website
- The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) – Website
- The Responsible Endowments Coalition, US – Website
- Intentional Endowments Network – Website
- Impact Investment Institute, UK – Website
- Chip Paucek, CEO of 2U – Twitter links
- The Edtech Podcast episode #200 – A Conversation with Chip Paucek, CEO of 2U – link to episode
- Dan Rosensweig, CEO, of Chegg – Twitter
- Chegg – Twitter
- Grand Canyon University – Twitter
- Toniic – Website
- Toniic – Twitter
- The Social Investment Group (SIG) – Website
- Church Investment Group – Website
- Snowball Investment Management – Website
- Snowball Investment Management – Twitter
- Charities Responsible Investment Network (CRIN) – Website
Thank you to the Ufi Voctech Trust
Our aim is to help improve vocational skills in the UK’s workforce by funding digital solutions for vocational learning. We only fund activity that is ‘scalable’ through technology, ie projects that use digital methods to widen access to vocational learning. While digital learning solutions are potentially open to all, we are especially keen to assist digital projects which involve post-school age vocational learners that have failed to be engaged by the education system.
Tell us where you are listening in from
We’d love to hear about innovative technology or approaches you are developing or using in adult education. Leave your stories in the comments below. Alternately, record a quick free voicemail via speakpipe for inclusion in the next episode. Finally, you can post your thoughts or follow-on links via twitter @podcastedtech or via The Edtech Podcast Facebook page.