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Risking it all to start an impact investment fund, Jamie Newth



Jamie Newth joins Purposely to share his founder story and why he started Soul Capital.

An academic and entrepreneur, Jamie is one of the key exponents of impact investing in New Zealand.

Jamie risked it all by remortgaging his house to seed fund his venture. This bold approach enabled him to have an active stake in the company and ensured confidence from his early stage investors, showing that he was 'all in’.

So what is impact investing? It's different to Philanthropy, where donors give money to support good causes with no expectation of receiving a financial return. Impact investing is when investors combine an expectation of financial returns alongside delivering positive social or environmental impact. In New Zealand impact investing is a relatively new phenomenon with a small market place, however there are an increasing number of interesting opportunities.

Soul Capital was established in 2014 and fully deployed its first fund in 2021, the company aims to get capital to entrepreneurs and enterprises who are tackling social and environmental problems as quickly as possible. Their first fund, called Awhi (which translates as embrace in Maori) has focused on getting growth capital to early stage impact enterprises. Investments have been made in six start-ups focused on; sign language through artificial intelligence; impact measurement tools; sustainable packaging; agri-tec; fintech for good and food delivery.

Jamie leads the Soul Capital team drawing on his expertise from a career consulting in entrepreneurship, strategy and growth. Jamie is unique in his experience as both a practitioner working across private, non-profit, and social enterprise sectors while teaching at the University of Auckland Business School. He holds a PhD in social entrepreneurship.

He sits on the boards of Social Enterprise Auckland, New Zealand’s only representative body for social enterprise, and on the Board of Connect Supporting Recovery, a large community mental health service provider. Previously Jamie has provided advisory and consulting services for a range of organisations across the SME, NGO, corporate, and social innovation sectors.