Hawaii conference will focus on impact investing

Pacific Business News

Date: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 12:40pm HST

Venture Capitalist Chenoa Farnsworth has organized an impact investing conference to increase social and environmental investing in Hawaii.

Traditional investors, entrepreneurs, nonprofit managers and philanthropists are expected to attend the invitation-only conference at the Honolulu Design Center Feb. 9.

“About a year and a half ago, I became interested in impact investments, which is looking for both financial returns and social and economic benefit,” said Farnsworth, managing director of Hawaii Angels.

Examples of impact investing include renewable energy, food sustainability, and health and wellness.

“Growth opportunities for Hawaii in impact areas include diversified and sustainable agriculture,” Farnsworth said. “Hawaii has a tremendous growing climate and conditions and several crop-related companies are starting or moving here to test their crop viability. These include biofuels feedstock and petroleum-based ingredients substitutes such as algae.”

She said there is space for about 50 persons to attend the conference at a cost of $100. Interested persons should email her at chenoa@hawaiiangels.org.

Local speakers will include Neil Hannahs, director of the land assets division of Kamehameha Schools    , and John Leong, executive director of Kupu and president and CEO of Pono Pacific LLC. Representatives from Mao Organic Farms, Hui Ku Maoli Ola, Hawaiian Oceanic Technology, RealGreen Power Inc.    and others also are expected to speak.

Speakers from the Mainland with impact investing experience include Penelope Douglas of the Hub Bay Area, a co-working and incubator space, and Lisa Kleissner of KL Felicitas Foundation.

For a full list of speakers, visit www.hiimpact.org.