Promoting Transparency To Monetize Impact with Sir Ronald Cohen of Global Steering Group for Impact Investment
Play • 38 min

Impact Hustlers proudly welcomes one of the pioneers of venture capital and impact investing, Sir Ronald Cohen, or Sir Ronnie. Having been in the finance industry for decades, he now has the well-deserved distinction of being known as the Father of British Venture Capital. He has also founded investment firms and companies that are regarded as leaders in the social impact space.

Sir Ronnie had an interesting childhood, leaving Egypt as a refugee at age 11 and moving to the UK. From his humble beginnings, his dedication and hard work landed him in Oxford and, later on, Harvard Business School. Interestingly, at age 53, he one day sat down with the management of Apax Partners, the investment firm he founded that now has over 50 billion dollars under management, and announced he would be leaving after seven years to focus on social issues. He was then tapped by the British Treasury to lead a task force on poverty, which led him on the path of impact. 

He shares how luck played a major role in his life, the valuable insights he learned throughout the years, what drove him to impact investing, and more. He also shares snippets from his book, Impact: Reshaping Capitalism to Drive Real Change, which is a worthwhile read, by the way, as well as the three major forces that are working to make the world a better place. This is truly an episode you won’t want to miss.

Sir Ronnie’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were:

  • “Our success or our failure, the types of challenges we have to go through are not all within our control. And once you understand that, you become a lot stronger in meeting the challenges that come your way.” (11:27)
  • “There's a greater purpose to your being on earth than just continuing to make more money.” (17:50)
  • “The profit motive needs to be guided by impact. Making money and not worrying about the harm you do is no longer possible.” (24:51)
  • “Mandatory reporting, use of accounting to measure impact, and measuring both social and environmental impact. If we do that, it will be a historical frontier for capitalism and for society.” (31:06)
  • “Bring impact into your thinking. It's the future. You will do better financially, and you will improve the world.” (35:41)
  • “Those who refuse to understand the importance of impact for the future of their businesses will once again be left behind.” (37:40)

In this episode, we also talked about:

  • An overview of Sir Ronnie’s journey, his childhood, and education (2:52)
  • Luck and how it helped Sir Ronnie get to where he is today (10:52)
  • Why 1998 was a memorable year for Sir Ronnie (16:06)
  • Integrating impact into the core of every business model (24:41)
  • Sir Ronnie’s book and social impact bonds (32:39)
  • The world in 10 years according to Sir Ronnie (36:13)
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