MBA Impact Investing Network & Training competition announces 2014 winners

The winners of this year’s MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) competition were announced at an event attended by over 60 students from seven top U.S. business schools, held at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on March 22.

The MIINT program is an initiative of Bridges IMPACT+, the advisory arm of specialist fund manager Bridges Ventures, and The Wharton Social Impact Initiative. Under the program, student-led investment teams from top business schools learn to source and conduct due diligence on impact investments, and then compete for the chance to win a $50,000 investment into their selected company.

At the MIINT final competition on March 22, student teams presented their recommendations to a panel of 10 judges comprising leaders in the impact investing and venture capital sectors.

Three MBA students, Cindy Ye, Jennifer Wittig, and Zoila Jennings, from the Kellogg School of Management attained the top honors, winning the Best Investment and Best Impact awards for their presentation of Jail Education Solutions (JES), an early stage social enterprise that provides educational content for inmates through tablet technology. The company aims to reduce recidivism and increase employment opportunities for inmates through enabling self-driven education. For Kellogg, winning means a potential $50,000 angel investment into JES. The primary program sponsor of the MIINT is Ron Moelis, CEO of L+M Development Partners. Moelis is passionate about impact investment and has been a strong supporter of the MIINT for the last two years. Other sponsors of the program are Apax Foundation, Liquidnet for Good, Mission Throttle, and Impact Engine.

Other winners included the Ross and Wharton MBA student team, who won the Runner-Up Best Investment award for their joint presentation on Raise, an online platform that allows underserved high school students to earn micro-scholarships for college. The student team at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah also won the Best Diligence award for their presentation on Bloc Power, a start-up that provides energy retrofit financing and installation in underserved neighborhoods.

“The final opportunities presented were selected from over 400 companies that students sourced at the beginning of the program. The student presentations showed strong diligence of the investment opportunities from both an impact and commercial perspective, and showcased the high caliber talent emerging from business schools into the field,” says Brian Trelstad, Partner at Bridges Ventures.

“Our goal is to provide the best experiential education available in the field of impact investment,” says Jacob Gray, Senior Director of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. “I think the students were inspired by the opportunity to test their mettle against some of the smartest MBA students in the world.”

About Bridges IMPACT+
Bridges IMPACT + is the advisory arm of Bridges Ventures LLP (“Bridges Ventures”), a specialist fund manager dedicated to using an impact-driven investment approach to create superior returns for both investors and society at large. Bridges IMPACT + seeks to promote the growth of the sustainable and impact investment sector by offering practitioner-led advisory services based on Bridges Ventures’ 12 year experience of investing for financial returns and positive impact.

About Wharton Social Impact Initiative
Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) is the institutional hub for social impact activities, information, and resources at Wharton. Established in 2009, WSII harnesses the knowledge and creativity of the Wharton community to investigate, create, and implement solutions to enduring social problems. It supports faculty, students, and alumni in the drive to use business knowledge and practices to enhance the greater good of the local community, the nation, and the world. For more information, visit socialimpact.wharton.upenn.edu.