Impact Investing & Blended Finance for Development Agencies & Foundations


To use public funds more effectively and mobilize private investment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has become a key concern of many development agencies and donor organizations.

While the idea to create blended finance models is compelling, one specific approach holds particular promise: empowering high-impact enterprises with market-based solutions to scale and deliver positive impact in a sustainable way – a bottom-up approach.

This actionable, practice-driven program is specifically designed for providers of public or philanthropic funding, who strive to maximize the impact of their grants or investments and want to be on top of the most innovative solutions and trends. It includes outstanding lecturers and has been tested in multiple workshops for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The program received exceptional feedback during the first cohort August 29-31, 2017. The program was fully booked, with 25 participants including from agencies such as UN Egypt, UN Ethiopia, SDC, US AID, Swiss Re, as well as NGOs and foundations. 

The three-day program provides valuable insights on strategies and instruments to "leverage" own resources by blending it with private investment for small and growing businesses in developing and emerging countries. It also sheds light on the whole spectrum of finance for impact and international development. A specific focus is on catalytic financing tools that are able to attract additional capital for high-impact enterprises.

The first iteration of the program was organized by the University of Zurich Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP), Convergence and the Social Finance Academy (by Roots of Impact), with support from the SDC.

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  • Meet and learn from participants, most of whom are project- and program managers in development agencies, public or multilateral organizations and foundations with a focus on international development.
  • Meet and learn from top speakers from OECD, Convergence, Harvard University, University of Zurich, Roots of Impact, Social Value UK, UBS, leading firms and networks.


  • Understand the huge potential of the private sector - in particular of small and growing businesses - to contribute to international development
  • See impact investment and private sector resources as a promising source of capital to be integrated into public and philanthropic strategies
  • Identify new ways of capacity building, catalytic capital and funding mechanisms to scale high-impact enterprises
  • Overcome market failures and structural challenges by blending different types of capital more effectively
  • Gain a deeper understanding of impact, alignment of interest and additionality to design the right incentives and the optimal mix of capital sources
  • Inspire colleagues and peers with state-of-the art tools and best practices.


This hands-on learning experience will deliver practical, actionable and relevant knowledge on how to mobilize private investment for sustainable development and use catalytic financing solutions for creating impact at scale:

  • The role of the private sector for achieving the SDGs - case studies and best practices
  • Introduction to impact investing and blended finance
  • Different approaches to attracting private capital
  • Choosing the right instrument to catalyze private investment
  • Pay-for-success instruments
  • The role of impact management
  • Mis-conceptions and mis-directions
  • Case studies: impact investments, blended and innovative finance solutions from the field

For more information, download the 2019 program brochure here. (PDF, 2376 KB)

Please sign up here to receive further news about the 2019 program as they become available.

To sign up, please register here.