Irish Impact 2015: Social entrepreneurship and the power of impact investing

Author: Carol Elliott

Ship in the Mendoza College of Business courtyard

In 2013, Andi Phillips helped to lead an innovative project aimed at expanding access to early childhood education for at-risk children in Utah.

Phillips isn’t a school administrator, or even a member of the teaching community. She is a vice president in the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs. And the project didn’t involve building new school facilities or changing education policies; instead, it took a financial approach called impact investing — a new way of funding efforts to address social problems while providing a competitive rate of return for investors. In this case, the initiative offered the one of the nation’s first social impact bonds.

Phillips will serve as the keynote speaker for the Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium. Roger Huang, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College, will provide opening remarks.

Irish Impact is an annual two-day conference that gathers students, alumni, social entrepreneurs and social investors from across the globe to discuss current issues and trends in social entrepreneurship. The conference is co-sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at Mendoza College and the Fellow Irish Social Hub (FISH), an independent, nonprofit incubator for social entrepreneurs.

The 2015 conference will focus especially on finance-first and impact-first investing, as well as due diligence and discovering better ways to measure social impact.

Phillips leads the Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund and manages teams with a focus on social impact bonds and economic development financing. She also developed the Access to Capital program as part of the 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative.

The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship was founded in 1998 for the purpose of fostering innovation and infusing aspiring entrepreneurs with a sense of the possible. Through rigorous coursework, business plan competitions, extensive networking and mentorship, and hands-on learning experiences, the center provides students with the knowledge and skills vital to entrepreneurship.

For more information about the Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference, visit