Q & A: Brady Garvan – Natural Investments – What is impact investing?

By on October 26, 2015
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Purposefulentrepreneurship.com’s founder Ian Sanchez had a chance to sit down with Brady Garvan of Natural Investments. Natural Investments is an investment company that focuses on making sure that our money matches our intention. We discuss 1. What is impact investing? 2. If you have no money to invest, where do you start? 3. Can I get the same kind of return that people get who aren’t concerned with the impact of their investments, only their ROI?

The interview is very informative, and we gleaned the top 10 bullet points that PE took from the conversation.

1. PE: What is impact investing? NI: At it’s core, it is saying we want our financial investments to have a positive impact on our communities small and large.

2. NI: One of the ways investors use their leverage to help drive change within the companies they invest in is by making demands upon them as owners since as stockholders they are owners of the company too. A great example is how investors helped drive the sourcing of Home Depot. Since the pressure from investors was strong enough, Home Depot agreed to quit using old growth timber.

3. PE: I don’t have any money to speak of, what can I do? NI: If you have $5 or $500K, you can put your money in a local credit union versus a major bank. A credit union is a non-profit designed to empower it’s member-owners. A major bank is a for profit company designed to make money off of their clients.

4. NI: People do have choices. Natural Investments has found that when people realize they have choices of what they do with their money then they take action.

5. PE: What are some resources if people want to do their own research? NI: A great resource online is www.socialfunds.com or look at our Natural Investments Heart Rating.

6. PE: Natural Investments is actually the first B-Corp in SC, why? NI: We chose to go to a Benefit Corporation (B-Corp) so we could walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

7. NI: Our view is that money is just a tool. A hammer can be used to build a community or beat someone to death. Money is the same. It’s a tool that you have to use. The way you use it depends on you. Again, we want to show people they have choices.

8. NI: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We do better as individuals and communities when we ask questions. Question Everything.

9. PE: Are there good funding sources for starting your business if you don’t want to use a major bank? NI: One resource to help finance your already existing business is The Calvert Foundation. They make loans to existing businesses.

10. PE: What are some of the newer ways technology is helping change the financial landscape for people? NI: I think the idea of Micro-loans is probably one of the best ways that technology is helping to empower people and communities. We generally think of Micro-loans as something that we do overseas, but Micro-loans are beginning to make an impact on local communities at home now too. To look at the general example most people have heard of Kiva. Taking a look at what they do and how they do it is a great place to start.

If you have questions for Brady you can leave them here in the comments or look up Natural Investments online.

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