Ross Announces Launch of Social Venture Fund

The University of Michigan‘s Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business formally announced the launch yesterday of its new Social Venture Fund.

Created in Fall 2009 and now seeking to make its first investment, the Fund aims to transform the way business is done by training socially-minded business leaders to invest in and manage sustainable, innovative, for-profit companies that place social impact at the heart of their mission.

The graduating MBA class of 2010 has showed its support for this initiative by pledging its class gift to the Social Venture Fund.

The Social Venture Fund will make early-stage investments of up to $200,000 in for-profit organizations that can deliver “double bottom line” returns in six key areas: education, environment, finance, food and nutrition, health and urban revitalization.

Students in the Social Venture Fund must undertake coursework that provides them with the education and tools and techniques essential to evaluating and financing venture investments in this burgeoning field.

Among this curricula is the newly created Impact Investing course, which will cover issues ranging from financial and social valuation to internal performance measurement and term sheets. Students will also be challenged to explore best practices for measuring the real social impact of a business and establish criteria for the Fund’s own investments.

“The Social Venture Fund is a natural extension of what we’ve been doing here for over a decade,” said Tom Kinnear, Executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute. “Combining rigorous and tangible venture capital experience with the more intangible, but critically important, social valuation experiences distinguishes us from our peers in entrepreneurial education.”

The Social Venture Fund is the first of its kind in the nation and marks the third Fund in the Institute’s comprehensive and diverse family of student-led venture funds, including the Wolverine Venture and Frankel Commercialization Funds.

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