The BlueOrchard Academy is an enabler for students, academic researchers and individuals who are eager to contribute to the advancement of the field of impact investment. In the past year, the BlueOrchard Academy has supported Elena Esbaile, Master Student at the University of Bologna, during the research process of her Master Thesis: ”Blended Finance: Analysis of funding mechanisms and best impact management practices to achieve the SDGs”. We are therefore delighted to share her experience with the BlueOrchard Academy.

“Participating in the BlueOrchard Academy has been highly beneficial to me for a number of reasons. First, it increased my exposure and desire to work in impact investing. Second, the partnership helped me to develop a deep understanding of the potential of blended finance and impact management to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Third, this cooperation reinforced my view of BlueOrchard as an innovative company that creates a positive impact while delivering financial returns.

The BlueOrchard Academy allowed me to expand my knowledge on impact investing and experience the advancements the industry is currently going through. Not only was I repeatedly given the chance to meet exceptional professionals but also I had the opportunity to attend the ‘Blended Development Finance and the New Industrial Policy’ conference in Geneva. Additionally, I was constantly challenged to go beyond existing studies and analyze blended finance 2.0 as well as to understand the main bottlenecks. My research has focused particularly on how blended finance can significantly contribute to overcome traditional investments risks, increase capital mobilization and create impact across numerous sectors in developing and frontier markets. However, it is important to note that while blended finance structures may attract more private capital to developing countries and the SDGs, impact measurement and management will be critical to scaling it.

On top of this, an effective impact metrics and appropriate reporting system are crucial to create an unparalleled level of impact and to avoid bad practices. In fact, a better assessment of impact data can increase SDG related financing by helping to meet private investors’ expectations. Furthermore, greater participation from policymakers and better coordination of all major stakeholders are required in order to reach the full potential of innovative finance mechanisms and solve social and environmental problems at scale. Blended finance and impact management will be complementary in the challenge of financing the SDGs – mobilizing the trillions and shifting them towards sustainable and measurable outcomes.

Overall, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that BlueOrchard provided me with. It was very inspiring to experience an environment that promotes sustainable finance, supports and also challenges young professionals and innovative thinking. Throughout, I was closely mentored and had the chance to interact with BlueOrchard through regular Skype-calls and ad hoc meetings, and I certainly found role models to whom I look up to. Therefore, the BlueOrchard Academy was not only indispensable for my Master thesis and my understanding of impact investing, but also to my professional development. I would strongly recommend the BlueOrchard Academy to anyone who is eager to learn more about the field of impact investing.”

Thank you Elena for sharing.