African Leadership Academy Global Advisory Council member, donor and long-term friend, Ed Brakeman, facilitated a workshop on Impact Investment for second year students during the 2020 Enterprise Festival (E-Fest) on March 13, 2020. Ed was the co-founder and co-head of Bain Capital’s public equity investment business, and is a Director of Umsizi Fund, a private foundation that advances the development of global leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs.
Ed focused his E-Fest workshop on Impact Investment because he believes that ALA students are very well positioned to be key players and advocates for a middle space between for-profit enterprises and non-profit enterprises.
“The students need to understand that the middle zone is a blend of trying to deliver the financial returns to investors and at the same time having a very clear social impact purpose, whether that is the social benefit of the community they operate in, or for environmental health, which they would have a very intentional business plan to have a positive impact on their communities,” said Ed.
Ed is a global impact investor with extensive private equity and public market investment experience. He is not only a founding supporter of ALA, he also has extensive engagement with the Academy’s leadership team and alumni through the Africa Careers Network which he played a pivotal role in developing. Aside from being on ALA’s Global Advisory Council, he also holds advisory roles at various impact investment organizations, including MCE Social Capital, Social Finance, and Toniic.
E-fest, which is organized by the ALA Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty members, is created to prepare students for the realities of running an enterprise outside the Academy. Ed believes that this training is equipping students to become enterprise organizers and if they have a better understanding of the middle ground of for-profit and non-profit enterprises they will have the potential to build companies that are well-tuned and hold strategies that enable them to attract capital that is dual purpose.
In discussing the depth of his involvement in the ALA mission, particularly the priority of Unleashing the Network, Ed focused on the power of networks. “Originally the network was just the founders, supporters, faculty, donors and the community members that gave birth to ALA, and then the network of students who were either current ALA students or ALA student alumni. However, now we have new networks that consist of professionals from various fields, entrepreneurs and a whole range of network contributors who have gone through the education stage and are now in the ‘adult, functioning in the world stage’. That has become a completely new element to the network phase and we can finally see how the enterprise work endeavor of the students who have come through the ALA education system can now contribute to the networks,” said Ed.
He believes that Unleashing the Network will do two things, to accelerate the existing network to help the upcoming network with opportunities to up skill, and to create teaching through peer learning between those who have completed their education and those currently in school or university, through shared experience.
“I truly believe that a community is only as strong as those that are in it supporting each other. It is beneficial for the broader network to get to know the young leaders in the ALA program because firstly, you get to understand and know the mission and operations better by knowing the individuals that are in the program. Secondly, it opens your mind and draws you into a deeper understanding of the impact of the organization. Lastly, you increase your sense of satisfaction and fulfillment by being more involved as a donor, and it will also open up thoughts and opportunities to get more engaged by becoming a host family for ALA alumni or hosting a gathering involving ALA students and friends of ALA to broaden the network,” concludes Ed Brakeman.
There are many ways to support ALA: consider joining the Student Enterprise Board, partnering with our African Careers Network, becoming a host family, joining the ALA staffulty team or hosting an ALA event. Kindly visit either of these links to learn more.