Assessing Your Impact Investments with Experts from CUHK and Chicago Booth

The field of impact investing can add unique value to your investment portfolio, but how can you assess those investments to ensure they are delivering the highest possible returns?

Riding on the overwhelming feedback received from the Impact Investment Webinar in March 2020, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the University of Chicago Booth joined hands again on 28 May 2020 to explore further on the topic. Presented by three impact investment experts from the academia and industry,  the webinar attracted over 320 registrations. The speakers took the audience’s impact investment knowledge to the next level by describing the evolution of the field, outlining how investors can best assess the value of their investments, and preparing for potential changes to their investment portfolio.

During the session, Prof. Kevin Au, Associate Professor of Department of Management and Director of Centre for Entrepreneurship and Centre for Family Business at CUHK Business School, introduced common impact management frameworks in Hong Kong. He named several frameworks such as “BACKs” by Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, B Impact Assessment, SEE Mark, Social Impact Assessment, Social Impact Measurement (SIM), Social Return on Investment (SROI), and other schemes promoted by large consulting firms.

Matthew Tam, CEO and Co-founder of Social Career Limited, shared his story of setting up a tech start-up. Social Career builds a matching platform for volunteers and NGOs, encouraging “people doing good” to get involved in social causes and service activities. These “people” include different stakeholders such as general public, volunteers, beneficiaries, event participants, donors, corporates, etc. He shared that the platform received funding support from “BACKs” and is currently back by university, secondary schools, and corporate administrators.

Prof. Priya Parrish, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Strategy at Chicago Booth and Managing Partner at Impact Engine, focused on providing insights in assessing impact in companies. Most investors usually measure the inputs, activities and outputs of an organisation, but they now emphasise more on the possibility of great outcomes and the additionality of capital that creates strategical impacts. She added that investors are also more aware of sustainable development goals adopted by United Nations.

The webinar was jointly organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute of Business, CUHK Business School and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The two hosts are committed to accelerating the knowledge transfer in this field and keen to bridge investors and social entrepreneurs. Stay tuned to the two-day workshop to be held in 2020 Q3 for more in-depth discussion.