The Forbes Impact Investing Community was founded in November of 2017 with the mission of uniting the world’s most influential people to drive impact investing and support entrepreneurial capitalism. We spoke with two of its founding members, Derick Thompson and Brendan Doherty, to hear about what their group is doing for the world.
Filling in the Missing Pieces: Entrepreneur Education
Derick Thompson, formerly a successful recording artist, is now the founder of Startup Runner Capital, an investment firm that inspires, educates and equips millennial entrepreneurs to build businesses that positively impact their communities.
But he isn’t just an incubator or a funding source – Thompson does the hard work, the kind that makes a real difference.
Thompson started his company because he believes that there is a missing educational piece for entrepreneurs in America. According to Thompson, most entrepreneurs don’t understand the entrepreneurial journey. There are many conflicting voices that entrepreneurs face and one of his roles is to provide a baseline to guide them, one that allows them to trust the voice of their customers instead of the voice instead their heads that thinks it knows best. This guidance, such as his 10 Steps to Building a Profitable Business, demystifies the journey.
Valuing Decent Work that Counts for Something
As for how all of this fits into the Forbes Impact Community, Thompson sees the opportunity to bring to light a larger conversation going on in our culture around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
The American Dream is changing as Millennials take a larger role in the economy. For the Millennials, it’s not enough to do what their grandparents did, working hard as immigrants to rise up out of poverty, or work hard just to support their Boomer parents. According to Thompson, "For Millennials, the American Dream is to create a company that solves a problem in the world while achieving financial freedom."
Indeed, entrepreneurship that “counts for something” is taking hold, here in American and all over the world. Educational tools such as Thompson’s 10 Steps play a critical role in lifting up the children of the world out of poverty by teaching them how to succeed as entrepreneurs.
Solving the Big and Chewy Problems of the World
According to Brendan Doherty, the goal of the impact entrepreneur is to solve big problems in a way that philanthropy alone can not accomplish. The co-founder of Big & Chewy, which backs entrepreneurs who are “solving our world’s biggest, chewiest problems”, Doherty sees impact investing as a way to focus our energy on investments that are alpha-seeking while at the same time aligning with our values.
Doherty came onboard with the founding of the Forbes Impact Community to further the consortium’s purpose of making impact investing smarter and more available to the mainstream, from a wealthy family in New York to someone who has just started out with their 401k plan in Columbus, Ohio.
Diversity of Mind and of Person
In the spirit of diversity and inclusion, participants in the 150 member, invitation-only community span all walks of life – from musicians and artists to financial industry giants, CEOs, and even a professional athlete or two.
In building the organization, Doherty found that its members were tired of the same people saying the same thing. Upon hearing this, he became more intentional about creating something that wasn’t just more of the same by including viewpoints of those who aren’t the typical financier or corporate investor, but who share a common set of values with the group.
Summing It Up On the Forbes Impact Investing Community
The Forbes Impact Community officially launched last November. Although it’s a new force in the world of impact investing, we’re optimistic about the great things this group will do in the world! If you’re curious about impact investing, please visit Impact University.