Building an Impact Economy

Since he took office, President Obama has been committed to strengthening the U.S. economy and creating jobs for American workers.  To advance those goals, today, the White House is hosting a convening on the Impact Economy (watch live at WhiteHouse.gov/live).

Often, people think that large corporations and the government are the dominant drivers of our economic growth, but there are many types of businesses that expand our economy and catalyze job creation.  Today, we are highlighting an emerging sector of the economy, impact investing.   Impact investing is currently estimated to be a $50 billion industry globally, but the Monitor Group and Hope Consulting predict that the impact investment industry could reach several hundred billion dollars in total assets under management over the next ten years.  

Impact investors, many of whom are gathered today at the White House, are seeking both financial and social returns. They believe that business has an opportunity to create economic value and positive social  outcomes.  They often make debt or equity investments in organizations that address major societal challenges such as economic opportunity, affordable housing, health care, education, or clean energy and improving the environment, while expecting a return on their invested capital.

At today’s convening, the White House and the Aspen Institute will facilitate a conversation between investors, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and executives along with policymakers about the emerging impact economy. These participants will discuss how to transform our economic landscape by creating better jobs that also strengthen our communities. The social benefits created by such businesses should be sustainable over the long-term, because they simultaneously generate financial returns. The Administration officials attending the event will be engaging with entrepreneurs and investors to understand how to remove barriers, streamline regulations and target existing government resources to support the building of an impact economy.  
 
I look forward to meeting the entrepreneurs and investors, including social entrepreneurs such as Priya Haji, who have created businesses that generate both profits and social good. I look forward to hearing from impact investors  -- like Stephen DeBerry -- who are seeding new entrepreneurs and investing in their plans to win the future. I am excited to learn from conventional investors, like Ron Cordes, who are working to ensure that financial markets are a more effective tool to create social good.  We hope this event will encourage more investors to make similar investments and help build an impact economy in the United States.
 
Creating an impact economy will help fuel job growth, promote innovation, and advance grassroots social change across America. I believe that today will mark the beginning of an important and productive conversation about what the impact economy can become.

Melody Barnes is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Related Topics: Economy
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