"The fund will invest in companies built on profitable models with the intention of generating measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return," Shaw said, noting that "the requirement for both profitability and sustainability is what differentiates it from other types of investment".

"Impact investment directs money to entrepreneurs who can identify local problems and address those problems through business," Shaw explained. "And as these businesses are based on profitable models, they will be able to deliver sustainable solutions year on year without the need to rely on grants."

Managed by the Leap Company, in partnership with JN Fund Managers, the Leap Impact Investment Fund has a capitalisation target of US$30 million and a minimum gross target return for investors of 13 per cent Shaw told potential investors and social entrepreneurs seeking funding, at a meeting in New Kingston, recently.

"Data show that impact investment funds have a financial performance on par with traditional private equity funds, and, indeed, that smaller impact funds - less than US$100 million - outperform traditional funds," the energy economist told her audience. "The fact that we have a relatively small and targeted fund allows us to be confident about our expected returns."

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