A ‘Shark Tank’ for Impact Investing: SEMBA’s Net Impact Chapter Featured

This post was edited by Mike Rama, SEMBA ’17, and originally was featured on Net Impact’s Hub Announcements.

The SEMBA Net Impact chapter held a pitch event described as a “Shark Tank for impact investing.”

Net Impact is an accelerator with chapters across the country that works to orient professionals and students to solve social and environmental challenges. The SEMBA Net Impact chapter is a hybrid chapter at the University of Vermont, Grossman School of Business, focused on bringing together current students, alumni, and community members in an effort to mobilize awareness and action on sustainability.

What makes this chapter stand out is the unique programming that equips its members with the skills and connections to drive impact now and throughout their careers. “Our chapter programming falls under three main categories: skill development, alumni relationships, and building collaborative networks with the community and other academic departments,” says Michael Rama, the Vice-President of the chapter.

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Sustainable Condoms from Soil to Sale

This post was written by Leah Perkinson, MPH and SEMBA ’17, and originally appeared in Impakter. It has been adapted for the SEMBA Review

In The Photo: Sustain Condoms Photo Credit: Sustain Natural

Are you looking for a sustainably produced, non-toxic, GMO-free, Fair Trade certified condom? Sustain Natural, the natural sexual health and wellness product supplier, has you covered (literally). In addition to selling condoms, this Vermont-based startup manufactures water-based, organic personal lubricants and chemical-free post-play wipes.

Sustain’s condoms are also nitrosamine-free. Nitrosamines are a class of carcinogenic chemicals that are in products like cosmetics, tobacco, fish, beer, fried foods, meats and rubber. During sex, condoms can leach these chemicals which can be absorbed into the body. Although nitrosamines from condoms contribute to a small percentage of our overall exposure, there’s no reason for them to exist in condoms. In fact, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund recommended that condom manufacturers minimize the presence of nitrosamines.

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Tackling Sustainability Through Food: How a Burlington Restaurant is Making a Difference

This post was written by Margaret Arzon, SEMBA ’17

In SEMBA, we are encouraged to connect and learn from other social entrepreneurs that are currently driving business to create a social and environmental good. As part of an assignment for our Entrepreneurial Leadership and Mindset class with Dita Sharma, my classmate Julie Allwarden and I sat down with the owner of Pingala restaurant, Trevor Sullivan, to talk about what inspired his business.

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The “SEMBAllers”: Winter 2017 CoRec B-League Broomball Legends

This post was written by Ted Carrick, SEMBA ’17

Broomball is a game of grace and athleticism removed. Remaining are only uncoordinated attempts to slap a mini soccer ball into a hockey net with a small plastic “broom,” on ice, in sneakers!

Some SEMBA students and other UVM undergrads formed a squad with the intention of enjoying a weekly moment of respite from their studies, a fun way to get some exercise, and have a few laughs. But the team did more than that. They broomed their way through the regular season 2-0-1!  With a no-loss regular season, the team’s confidence was high heading into the playoffs. The team had their eyes set on the prize: t-shirts branded with “SEMBAllers, 2017 Winter CoRec B-League Broomball Champions” across the chest.

Captain Brett Spusta, SEMBA ’17, sent out this inspirational email the day before their first playoff match:

“Hey team!

Big week! Playoff time! First game is tomorrow at 10pm, I know it is late, but we need to bring our A game. We are playing the Ball Sweepers, who we tied in the regular season. In play-offs, there are no ties; we will run some shoot out drills for warm up. Because it is so late, we have some time to run the tapes and do some strategy planning over a refreshing beverage before.

We need to carry big-mo with us from last week’s win. We are now in single elimination territory, if we lose we are done, if we win we play next Monday (2/27) at 9:15.   

“I know we have a test tomorrow, but broomball should be a priority.”

Remember: the champion team gets an intramural champion t-shirt! It is a coveted prize. I know we have a test tomorrow, but broomball should be a priority. LETS GET THE SHIRT! GET FIRED UP! We have come a long way; I am not ready to end our run now!

Stay hydrated, stay loose, and visualize yourself on the ice. Visualize yourself scoring the game winning shot, the high fives, the SEMBA pride. Wow: what a picture, what a story!  

 -Coach Brett

 P.S. Our name is officially SEMBAllers.”

What do the 2017 Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots, the 2004 World Series Boston Red Sox, and the 2017 SEMBAllers CoRec B-League broomball team have in common? Heart. Heart and grit. No, they were not all supreme champions of their sport, the SEMBAllers having lost in the first round of the playoffs to what proved to be insurmountable opposition. But the team nevertheless reveled in the joy of good natured competition, laughs, and friendship. They never gave up, and when it was over they high fived their opponents and congratulated each other on a game well played.

Hero’s get remembered, but legends never die: 2017 SEMBALLers CoRec B-League broomball team.

 

SEMBA, Women Leaders Gather to Work for Change

This post was written by Karen Barnett, SEMBA ‘17

To enact change, you need to know the actual problem. This statement is far from revolutionary, and perhaps it even sounds a bit boring. Yet not every organization dives deep to fully understand the issues it aims to address. Change the Story VT, however, is not one to fly past the diagnosing stage. Instead, the organization knows that data drives effective goals, without which meaningful change is impossible.

Tiffany Bluemle, Director of Change the Story VT, shared her inspiration last Thursday night at a gathering with SEMBA women and the Vermont Chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), an organization that connects women leaders from all different fields to build better leadership for the future.

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Sustainable Business — A Catalyst of Innovation and Investment Returns

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This post was written by Robert Zulkoski, Chairman, Vermont Works Management Company, LLC; Member, Board of Advisors, SEMBA at the University of Vermont; Member of the Board of Directors, BTV Ignite; and Chairman, Greenlots

The integration of environment, social and governance factors (ES&G) into corporate and investment decision making has been gathering momentum over the last decade. Several well-researched reports highlight one of the key drivers underpinning this shift: sustainability and financial performance are linked.

A multitude of constituencies – governments, public companies, impact investment intermediaries, opinion leaders and investors – have contributed to the development of the global social impact investment market. A movement is afoot that represents a significant opportunity for businesses and markets to drive improved social value. By allocating assets towards products, services, and companies that generate positive social impact, the movement toward “impact investing” has the potential to create real value for both investors and for society.

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Impact Investing from Burlington to Botswana

The SEMBA curriculum involves the study of finance through the lens of sustainability, and is supplemented by workshops that include the exploration and discussion of impact investing. This post was written by SEMBA Advisory Board member Rob Morier, Managing Director, Head of North America at Global Evolution.

robInstitutions and individuals, from the trading desk to the university classroom, are rapidly adopting impact investing. The proliferation of funds and research has been a welcome revolution in the asset management industry. Investors have more options and information available to them than ever before as asset management companies and investors hurry to catch a rising tide of opportunity. As defined by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds, with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. While traditional business practices may perpetuate the idea that an organization must choose between doing good and making money, impact investments don’t carry the weight of that trade off, as the intention is to do both.

Although public and private equity markets have been the primary focus for impact investors and asset managers as they set their strategic investment goals pertaining to their mission or value related investments, fixed income has slowly moved from a minor to major player in terms of impact opportunities, despite being a cornerstone of traditional asset allocation models.

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Do You Have What It Takes To Change The World?

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Click to register for this free, informative webinar

Over the past 25 years, most major business schools have added some kind of program focused on sustainability, corporate citizenship, or social entrepreneurship, though they are not integrated into the core DNA of the institution.

The University of Vermont’s Sustainability Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) is unique in that it fundamentally reinvents business screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-38-00-pmeducation and the MBA degree to address the urgent sustainability challenges we face in the 21st century. The curriculum is focused 100% on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship. In this webinar, Professor Stuart Hart will describe the design and significance of the SEMBA — a 12 month, AACSB-accredited program focused on developing the next generation of business leaders who will innovate enterprises to move us more rapidly toward a sustainable world. Vinca Krajewski, a SEMBA graduate and currently Associate Brand Manager at Seventh Generation, will describe her experience in the program and how it has uniquely prepared her to be a changemaker for sustainable innovation.

 

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