Impact Investments


The focus of this course is to introduce students to the emerging topic of Impact Investment. Students will be able to understand the value proposition of impact investment, how impact is a key economic opportunity being driven by major market forces – consumers, investors and employees – and how it will shape capital allocation and economic.
At the end of the course, students are expected to understand how financial innovation can be applied towards tackling the most pressing social and environmental problems and be aware of the different financing instruments available. This includes learning from live case studies in microfinance, social impact bonds, impact investment funds and other mechanisms.
This course will be led by learnings from the ground and supported by theoretical fundamentals. The debate will be encouraged around social issues such as poverty reduction, community capacity, and international development alongside contemporary topics including youth unemployment, homelessness and education. Students will be provided with quantitative and qualitative information to support these discussions.
All subjects and topics will be presented through live case studies alongside a literature overview in order to help to deepen the understanding of the subject and support the work in class.
The course is prepared to embrace a diverse class comprised by students from different academic backgrounds and with or without field experience. Students are not required to have previous financial background.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Antonio Jose Sequeira Vilalobos Miguel


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Literature on each specific topic will be provided by start of the course.
Mandatory reading: Impact Investment, the invisible heart of the markets, available 

Teaching method

We will use different methods that create dynamic classes and enhance the real long-term learning:
>    lectures by the teacher and live-voting system to foster discussion
>    in-class presentations by key practitioners in the international impact investment market that will be invited to share their experience
>    group and individual work in and extra-class.

We also use reading exercises, debates, videos watching and discussing, case studies analysis and interactive activities that will deepen the acquired knowledge, allow practical application of the concepts and give them an essential reality check.

Evaluation method

Students’ performance will be assessed through:
15% - Quality of the participation in class, preparation to debates and case studies´ analysis and completion of small tasks between classes.
35% - Group assignment: The evaluation will be based on: content (selection and analysis of the most important topics from literature, extra research, relevance and logic flow of what is presented; how well it is explained), structure, creativity, formalities (e.g. compliance with time; handling of sources; team work)
50% - Mandatory Final Exam

Subject matter

An introduction to Impact Investment
>    The mobilisation of capital for public good and the role of financial innovation in tackling social and environmental issues
>    A convergent economy: the intersection between private, public and social sector
>    A new investment paradigm: risk, return and impact
>    Financial innovation for impact – the spectrum of impact finance instruments

The impact investment market infrastructure
>    Creating an impact investment market – lessons from the UK, US, Canada and Continental Europe
>    Building institutional infrastructure – live case study of Big Society Capital in the UK
>    Understanding the dynamics of an impact investment market – impact investors, investees and the public sector
>    Promoting investment readiness – learnings from the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund UK

Financial innovation to deliver social change
>    Microfinance – theoretical fundamentals, impact of microfinance, credit technologies and state of the art in developed and developing economies
>    Social Impact Bonds – shift towards outcomes-based financing, capital allocation for social innovation, learnings from case studies (Peterborough)
>    Impact Investment Funds – the role of equity and quasi-equity instruments in building resilient social organisations, learnings from live case studies
>    Venture Philanthropy – focus on long-term financial and non-financial support to build capacity within social organisations, learnings from live case studies (Impetus Private Equity Foundation)
>    Impact Finance Innovation – equity crowdfunding, quasi-equity instruments for social organisations (revenue shared agreements)

Broader overview and market trends
>    Impact Finance trends – emerging concepts and new markets
>    Big data and analytics to advance social innovation
>    Role of impact investment in tackling entrenched social problems