On Wednesday, May 9, Toronto young professionals were treated to an informative and social evening at Grace Restaurant hosted by LIFT Investments, a new non-profit social investment fund. After holding its first-ever spring fundraiser in New York City, LIFT Investments launched a Toronto fundraising event to raise awareness and talk about their non-profit initiatives. Founded by Queens University Graduate and former investment banking analyst Natasha Miles, LIFT aims to make a difference in poverty-stricken countries in brand new ways. Their goals are straightforward: to create impact at economic, social and individual levels by investing in small and medium-sized enterprises in East Africa and offering job skills to the working poor.
LIFT works to address two major problems in low-income countries: lack of capital and lack of opportunities for unskilled workers to maximize their earnings potential. Unfortunately, only a very small number of businesses in such countries have access to capital and they are often only accessible at very high interest rates. At the same time, these businesses face the challenge of trying to find skilled labour. LIFT provides a solution to these challenges by raising capital and co-investing in small and medium-sized enterprises with successful investment firms in these regions. Dividends and interest that are earned on investments are used in return to train these enterprises’ workers on key skills that are needed to grow the business and in turn increase earnings potential.
The event, which included cocktails and a silent auction of photography, truly brought to light what passionate people can accomplish with new ideas. It serves as a great reminder that with all the skills that we as young professionals acquire in our working lives, we can be inspired to use these skills to create change in meaningful ways. LIFT Investments is quite literally making a difference in low-income countries and individual lives one investment at a time.
Photo courtesy LIFT Investments. Article by Stephanie Ham.