The Michigan Impact Investing Symposium (MIIS) is an annual conference that allows attendees to learn more about the impact investing space from distinguished members of the community and gives participants an opportunity to explore investments that provide financial and social returns through an optional pitch competition. The symposium is in alignment with Michigan Ross' aim to build a better world through business. Business + Impact is the central hub for these efforts, providing ideas and solutions to address the global challenges of our generation.
Impact investments are investments made into entities for financial return as well as to create a social and environmental impact. Impact investing connects the financial markets with the real world, by emphasizing on profit and purpose. Examples of impact investments include sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, microfinance, affordable housing, education, and healthcare.
Impact investing is forecasted to grow to more than $300 billion by 2020, but even that would be a small fraction of the $2.9 trillion or so that will likely be managed by private-equity firms worldwide in 2020. Investors have strayed away from impact investments because of the assumption that these investments are highly risky and yield low financial return. Evidence suggests otherwise – impact investments serve to diversify the portfolio and have the potential to make market-rate returns.
The world’s most pressing social problems cannot be solved through government funding alone. Private capital is needed to fill the gap. The Michigan Impact Investing Symposium allows participants to explore investments from the perspective of an impact investor looking to make a social and financial return.