UWI hosts Dubai event with open society foundations CEO Sean Hinton to emphasize power of socially-minded investment

31 Dec 2017 Zawya

United World Infrastructure hosts Dubai event with open society foundations CEO Sean Hinton to emphasize power of socially-minded investment

Washington, D.C. and Dubai-based United World Infrastructure (UWI) recently sponsored an event in Dubai, exploring ways in which investors can make a positive impact and achieve both financial and social returns simultaneously.

The forum took place on December 18th at the Capital Club, Dubai International Financial Centre.  It was the first in a series entitled, “Emerging Business Ethics: Dubai Forum”, and featured Sean Hinton, CEO of the Economic Development Fund and Director of the Economic Advancement Program of the Open Society Foundations, as the keynote speaker. The Open Society Foundations (OSF) is an international grant-making network which operates in more than 100 countries around the world. Its main efforts are directed towards the areas of education and youth, governance and accountability, health, media, information, rights and justice.

Under the theme of impact investing in frontier markets, the event offered attendees insights on the ethos of venture philanthropy, or impact investing, and its potential to generate economic returns while positively addressing global challenges – climate change, poverty, inequality – and the complicated balance between these objectives.

Drawing from his experiences with OSF, Mr. Hinton highlighted the power of venture philanthropy when the best of the private sector and venture capitalism is applied.  He asserted that venture philanthropy is based on three central beliefs:  the private sector can, and should, apply its best habits to address global social challenges; it is possible to achieve both social and financial returns; and finally, the best way to best advance these goals and solve problems at scale is to enlist more capital.

“The technology in our pockets is testament to moonshots and risks taken by entrepreneurs, and we need these moonshots now more than ever.  When you think about the problems and the opportunities that the world is dealing with now – climate change, food security, the extraordinary demographic boom in Africa which will transform the world – and how these problems will escalate and combine in the years to come, we need solutions that we have not thought of and nowhere is as good at innovation as the private sector,” Hinton shared.

“We appreciate Mr. Hinton’s participation in this forum and will reflect on how to further advance what he defined as ‘the best of the private sector and venture capitalism’ in the cities UWI invests in and builds.  While strong financial returns certainly do drive economic development, our communities require more from their cities than financial returns and we aspire to meet those requirements,” UWI Principal and Founder Vafa Valapour said.

“With Dubai’s unique spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, we could not think of a better time and place to host this event and look forward to participating in similar thought-provoking events going forward.”