Meet Ben Warren, currently an Investment Associate at Big Society Capital, as he shares his story as part of our series on millennial impact investors.
Name and Nationality: Ben Warren, British
Where are you living now? London
Who do you work for and what is your job title: Big Society Capital, Investment Associate
Can you share a bit more about your career before getting into impact focused investing?
After I graduated I spent some time working in Japan and then went to work for an NGO in Laos before coming back to London to take on a role at The SIB Group in 2009. I’ve since worked in both investment and policy roles in the UK social investment market.
What inspired you to transition into an impact focused career?
I was attracted to a career in impact investment because I saw it as a way to harness the power business to do social good. My Dad ran a small business and my Mum worked in the NHS – so I guess I the commercial and social motivation comes from them both.
How did you transition into the space?
Not the usual route! I launched a small social enterprise raising microloans for entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso and the Philippines. This enabled me to learn more about the social enterprise sector and as a result the funding landscape, including impact investing.
Did you take advantage of any training programs or University studies to prepare you for this transition?
My MSc was in International Development, with a focus on the private sectors’ role in economic development and the negative impact on the environment.
What regions and sectors have you focused on since?
What have you enjoyed most about this career path?
The best part is seeing the impact that our funds make to the frontline organisations we serve. Hearing stories of where our capital has made an impact to people’s lives is the reason why I enjoy working in the space.
What advice would you give someone trying to transition into the space?
Volunteer for a local cause, become a trustee or start something yourself!
What are your hopes for the future of the sector?
My hope is that we make all charities and social enterprises aware that social investment exists, even if they choose not to use it.