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What Our Speakers Taught Us

November 16, 2016 By: Muska Ulhaq

On October 26th and 27th the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing convened the 2016 Social Finance Forum at MaRS Discovery District. The Forum hosted  81 speakers from across the country to share their expertise and experience as leading practitioners in impact investing.  We are pleased to share with you key learnings from some of our speakers. 


Greg Shell, Managing Director, Bain Capital

“All investment capital has impact one way or another, however what the social finance arena allows for is the opportunity to be more intentional about the impact we want to have, through the initiatives we fund and where we deploy capital.

It’s also important to note that every company creates value. It’s the level of impact and the type of value that is created, that is the question.

Impact Investing is the intent to recognize that we can do more. It gives us the wonderful opportunity to re­imagine. To re­image that we can make investments that are more aligned with the outcomes we are trying to achieve and the value we are trying to create in making our societies a better place.


Katherine Brown, Impact Lead, World Economic Forum 

“Intermediaries such as the World Economic Forum play a conveyor, and a catalyst for accelerating the mainstreaming of impact investing. In a relatively nascent, still highly fragmented industry, there is considerable opportunities for intermediaries, such as the WEF, to cultivate best-practice sharing, and act as a neutral party in bringing various stakeholders together.

Andrew Park, UK Cabinet Office

“Innovative financing mechanisms open up more capital for smaller charities to deliver their services at scale. Not only does that in turn enable providers the freedom to do what they do best – which is to deliver services, but it provides the financiers of these initiatives a financially commensurate return on investment. A truly mutually beneficial, aligned outcome for success.

Outcomes funds on the other hand, try to remedy and redirect funds so that local money can work with government funds to deliver much needed services. The key barrier here is that to persuade someone to adopt the model, they first need to understand the social problems they are trying to solve; what might that look like, and how you might go about financing this solution.

Although still nascent, the future of the social investment markets is promising, and a viable financing mechanism that we are proud to champion around the world.”

By: Jen Vlasiu, MaRS Studio Y Fellow