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You’ve probably heard that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but what if there were a way to do both?
The idea is called “impact investing” and it is introduced in the book The Third Wave by Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL.
When you invest, you expect a financial return on your investment. When you make charitable donations, you don’t expect a financial return, but you hope your donation will impact the word in some positive way – food for the hungry, justice for the oppressed, or cures for chronic diseases. In impact investing, you not only expect a financial return for your money, but you also get to take part in shaping a better world.
Case describes the Third Wave as a disruptive industrial trend coinciding with the rise of the “Internet of Everything” where devices of nearly every kind become interconnected and have the ability to communicate with each other. This trend will facilitate transformation of entire industries in ways we can scarcely imagine. It is a revolution of sorts, where industry giants will have to adapt or become obsolete, and newcomers can become the next giants. During this revolution, impact investors will be able to profit while supporting the industry players that they believe are doing the most good.
I’m excited about the proposition of impact investing playing a role in shaping the future. I have seen impact investing firsthand and it opened my eyes to what is possible when business and philanthropy intersect.
I was introduced to a company called Rovia that was doing something unique in the travel and tourism space. For a modest amount, I was able to invest, not as a securities holder, but as an independent representative. By representing the unique travel experiences provided by Rovia, I am able to share in the growth of the company, expected to exceed $1 billion in revenue this year, while helping people cross off their bucket list on their current budget.
As if that weren’t cool enough, I got to see how this business concept is making a real impact on the future of education in Guatemala.
In cooperation with Hug It Forward, Rovia is able to send travelers on “voluntourism” trips to build schools in the rural areas of Guatemala. The construction costs are kept low (average $6500 per classroom) by utilizing “ecobricks” – discarded plastic bottles stuffed with other loose inorganic trash. The raw materials for the ecobricks is collected by the parents and students served by the schools.
The result is an extremely sustainable way to give and serve. The communities get to take ownership in the building of their schools and reduce pollution while Rovia gets to provide a unique and exclusive voluntourism opportunity for its members. Impact investing at its finest. See for yourself.
Interested in becoming an impact investor with me? If so, I’m interested in hearing from you.
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