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The Social Enterprise World Forum, billed as the premiere global event focused exclusively on social enterprise, and on creating global awareness of the effectiveness of social enterprise in solving critical social problems, will take place in Rio de Janeiro in October. Daniel Izzo, partner and co-founder of Vox Capital in São Paulo, Brazil, described as Brazil’s first impact investing firm, will be a speaker at the Forum.
Alliance magazine asked what led him to impact investing, how he sees the concept developing in Brazil, and what the future holds for social businesses. The point he keeps coming back to is that impact investing needs examples of success before the field can take off – and those will be a few years coming still.
Why did you found VOX Capital?
Before founding Vox, I was responsible for developing new businesses for BOP [bottom of the pyramid] consumers for Johnson and Johnson and I realized that you have to take a different approach: less based on taking protocol percentage on a new customer segment, more on trying to develop ways to raise the standard of living of these people while you bring business to them.
So I started developing a network of people who were already working with what we then called social businesses and I became a major investor in one of them. Based on identifying the key needs and challenges of these businesses and seeing the development of the field as a whole, it became clear that there was not only the opportunity but also the need for a fund exclusively for this type of business. My other partners had come to the same conclusion independently. The other co-founder, Kelly Michel, is founder of Artemisia, which is a local accelerator for business with social impact and an organization that helps develop human capital for this field. Antonio Moraes Neto, the other partner, was already developing his fund, so this common objective brought us together.
Daniel Izzo is partner and co-founder of Vox Capital in São Paulo, Brazil.