The Buzz About Social Finance

sis_header_logoInterested in learning how social finance tools are being used to leverage private capital for social good? Follow the conversation on Twitter with #NYUSIS at the 5th Annual New York University Social Innovation Symposium.

The symposium explores how cutting-edge social innovations are addressing society’s most pressing challenges, exploring topics from financial inclusion and economic inequality to education and public health. Gina Harman, CEO of the Accion U.S. Network, joins the Able Project’s David Butler, Rockethub’s Vlad Vukicevic, and the Calvert Foundation’s Jennifer Pryce at 3 pm today as part of the symposium to discuss the impact and limitations of social finance tools including microfinance, social impact bonds, and crowd funding.

It’s a fascinating time for New York City to host this forum. Job creation has soared since 2009, and the recovery is being driven by a variety of businesses including hotels, restaurants and tech companies, not Wall Street like in the 1990s. According to the Center for an Urban Future and the New York State Department of Labor, the city had a net gain of roughly 38,000 businesses between 2000 and 2013, and firms with fewer than 5 employees accounted for 82.1 percent of the new businesses.

So what does social finance have to do with job creation and economic opportunity? With the Fed signaling on Wednesday that it isn’t yet ready to raise interest rates and put the economy’s economic momentum at risk, investors are looking for ways to gain high returns. Social finance, also known as impact investing, looks at how private capital can support the achievement of social and environmental goals while delivering a positive economic return for investors.

With the recent successful initial public offerings of Lending Club and OnDeck Capital, there is a lot of interest in understanding how investor capital is helping business owners access capital through a growing online capital marketplace. It’s changing the realm of possibilities for microfinance in the U.S, so carve out a part of your Friday to learn more about these tools.

Follow the conference: @NYU_SIS #NYUSIS

Learn more about the conference here:

Read a recent op-ed in the New York Times on impact investing here:

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