Sir Ronald Cohen
15/9/2020
4/10/2023
Sir Ronald Cohen: From Venture Capital and Private Equity to Impact Investing: A Conversation with the Man Who Leads the Charge!

Sir Ronald Cohen’s extraordinary story begins in Egypt in 1956 where the Suez crisis has taken place and Egyptian Nationalism is on the rise, forcing his family to leave everything and flee to England, not even speaking the language. Armed only with ambition and hope and hard work, he gets into grammar school, wins a scholarship to Oxford, then to Harvard Business school and moves on to build one of the largest venture capital firms in the world, APAX.

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Sir Ronald Cohen’s extraordinary story begins in Egypt in 1956 where the Suez crisis has taken place and Egyptian Nationalism is on the rise, forcing his family to leave everything and flee to England, not even speaking the language. Armed only with ambition and hope and hard work, he gets into grammar school, wins a scholarship to Oxford, then to Harvard Business school and moves on to build one of the largest venture capital firms in the world, APAX.

Over the last 20 years, he has been invited to advise Governments, chaired the G8 task force for impact investment, helping drive the revolution to rethink the way we invest. Along the way he has authored 3 books, the most recent Impact, which has just been released. He has sat on the University of Oxford Investment Committee, been a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School and Vice-Chairman of Ben Gurion University.He talks about the opportunities created by attending Oxford and Harvard, his journey to help create the UK Venture Capital industry, founding Apax, and the role private equity plays in developed economies, including discussing some of its perceived drawbacks. The conversation moves to entrepreneurship, and his first book, “The Second Bounce of the Ball – Turning Risk into Opportunity” and the critical role, job-creation will play in the post Covid landscape. This leads to his thoughts on the profound importance Impact Investing must, and will play, and its essential role in the evolution of capitalism.Specifically he discusses the need to have company accounts properly measure impact and how this sub-sector of the investment management industry is accelerating as evidenced by the growth of the Social Impact Bond (SIB) and Harvard’s impact-weighted accounts. The conversation moves on to discuss how and what Governments should do, the evolution of philanthropy in this environment, and advice for young people thinking about careers and finally his perspectives on an extraordinary journey.

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