The #BOFaces series introduces you to the people making up BlueOrchard’s dedicated team, which is spread across our offices around the world. This week, we had the pleasure of speaking with Maria Kaneva-Jacobs, Senior Risk Specialist based in the Geneva office.

Continue reading if you want to know why Maria decided to work in impact investing and what she believes to be the biggest global challenge.


So Maria, what about impact investing made you work in this field?

I like the sense of accountability the impact investing field holds in solving the world’s most pressing problems – those of poverty, inequality, climate change, etc – which is largely missing from the traditional financial sector, even with the ESG requirements. These issues are close to my heart as I was born and raised in a developing country which still faces them. I moved from investment banking early in my career to the impact investment sector in order to do my part in making a difference.

Why did you join BO?  

I have known for quite some time now that Blue Orchard is the gold standard in impact investing – I’ve been working in this sector for some 15 years now! And I knew already some great professionals at BO as it is an even smaller world. So when the right opportunity came along at the right time I applied and was very pleased and grateful to join the BO team.

What do you enjoy most about working at BO?

At the top of the list has to be the people – my colleagues are exceptional! But it is also the corporate culture of passion and drive to work hard to help resolve the complex challenges our investees deal with, by providing the most appropriate products.

How do you make an impact in your private life?

One silver lining from the pandemic lockdown in my private life is that I have gone paperless – it is extremely rare nowadays that I print anything, both at work and at home. My family and I try to do our bit to preserve the planet – we recycle as much as possible, avoid or reuse plastic products, donate books and clothes, always turn off the lights when leaving a room.  Also, when they were still little, my kids were taught at school how to compost food waste, which we have put in practice for a few years now.

And finally, what is the biggest global challenge in your view? 

The pandemic has widened again the gap between the rich and the poor and pushed back some of the important progress that was achieved in reaching the SDGs. The injustice that such a huge share of the global population is living in poverty with limited or no access to basic necessities and no way out is in my view the most urgent and important challenge to be resolved. I am proud to be part of a team that is part of the solution to this most pressing challenge. The funding we provide also prove an opportunity – be it to start a new business or a new job (especially for poor women), get an education or secure protection against natural disasters.

Thank you, Maria !