The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School
2023 Turner MIINT Competition Shapes Next Generation of Impact Investing Leaders
Graduate students from around the world compete in impact investing through the Turner MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) program, with diverse teams and innovative ideas taking center stage.
In March 2023, graduate student teams from around the globe presented their diligence in hopes to secure up to $100K in investments into high-impact ventures in the 12th annual Turner MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) competition.
The Turner MIINT, which gives hands-on education in impact investing for business and graduate school students, is a collaboration between Bridges Impact Foundation and the ESG Initiative at the Wharton School. For the first time since 2019, participating students traveled to the University of Pennsylvania to pitch their selected ventures. The two-day immersive experience gave students the opportunity to network with fellow MBAs and judges, observe each other’s presentations, and attend a careers panel featuring leaders in the field.
This year, 462 students participated in total, with 137 competing in this year’s investment committee event. The students learned from and were supported by their 145 combined faculty advisors, the Turner MIINT steering committee, as well as 62 mentors and 45 investment committee judges in the semifinals and finals. The participating students also now join the over 3,500 Turner MIINT alumni around the world who have participated in the program over the past decade.
Brian Trelstad, founder of MIINT shared that, “Every year the quality of companies and quality of diligence gets better and better.”
“As I looked around the room, I was confident that I was meeting some of the impact investing industry’s future leaders.”
– Bobby Turner, W’84, Sponsor of the Turner MIINT
“I was incredibly impressed with the quality of work done by these students – and, more so, by the passion and commitment to using their business degrees for positive change,” said Bobby Turner, W’84, sponsor of the Turner MIINT program. “As I looked around the room, I was confident that I was meeting some of the impact investing industry’s future leaders.”
And the Winners are…
Each year the judges select a student diligence award across all participating teams to celebrate a team that executed a strong and well-researched diligence process, whether or not their company was recommended for investment. This year’s best diligence award went to Columbia University who presented Magic Valley. In addition to meeting with the founders and venture incubator, the Columbia team conducted in-depth meetings with technical experts to understand regulatory pathways, organizational capacity, impact thesis, and financial performance.
The winner of this year’s $50,000 Moelis Prize for best impact investment opportunity was awarded to the team from Saïd School of Business at Oxford University.* They presented a company called Sunfox Technologies. Sunfox is an India-based medical devices company, founded in 2016, that leverages technology to generate simple, user-friendly reports that can be used to track cardiac health outcomes in remote areas without the need for a medical specialist. In addition, this year’s in-person format brought back the Audience Choice awards, where the Saïd team’s presentation of Sunfox impressed their peers as Audience Choice among the finalists.
Twinkle Malhan, MBA 2023 of the Saïd Business School, shared, “We had the pleasure of delivering our carefully crafted investment recommendation to the esteemed Investment Committee, which is composed of renowned experts from diverse disciplines across the globe. Our team underwent rigorous online coursework to gain a deep understanding of impact investing, including the intricacies of the sourcing and due diligence process. However, our knowledge expanded exponentially when we had the opportunity to present our investment recommendation to the distinguished panel of judges at Wharton.”
“Turner MIINT has fostered a supportive community of like-minded MBA students, judges, practitioners, and researchers, all united in their dedication to creating profitable ventures with a social purpose.”
– Twinkle Malhan, MBA 2023 of the Saïd Business School team
Malhan continued, “The insightful question-and-answer sessions with the judges during both the semi-finals and finals shed light on profound considerations for investors. Turner MIINT has fostered a supportive community of like-minded MBA students, judges, practitioners, and researchers, all united in their dedication to creating profitable ventures with a social purpose. We are immensely grateful for finding such a community that we can rely on as we progress in our careers.”
When asked what it was like to be in person for this year’s competition, decade-long judge and Steering Committee member, Tasha Seitz said, “There was an incredible energy having all of the teams together, in person in Philadelphia again. The students could connect with judges and each other –during and between sessions—to build their network in real time.” Seitz who is a Partner at Impact Engine shared that “one student asked every judge and prospective investor they could find for recommendations on landing a deal for the company her team had sourced. It was great to see her working to drive value for the company.”
Turner MIINT Program Manager Adwoa Asare reflected on the global aspect of this year’s event. “We never know who will show up and wow us with their investment opportunity. This year six of the seven finalists came from outside of the United States. It speaks volumes to the wide reach of our program and impact investing throughout the world.”
This year’s cohort of semi-final judges was comprised of 45% Turner MIINT alumni. “It is gratifying to see the alumni of the program becoming investors themselves and coming back to participate in the competition from the other side,” said Seitz.
Turner MIINT alum Ward Wolff returned this year for his fourth year as a judge and third year as a mentor. “My participation in MIINT five years ago really jumpstarted my career and has been central to what I’ve done professionally. I had such a positive experience that I wanted to find ways to stay involved after completing the program.”
He went on to share, “Turner MIINT serves as an incredible resource for graduate students around the world that are interested in impact investing. Students get real-world, hands-on experience and there’s nothing that can replace that.”
“Wherever they are sitting, whatever type of company, organization, or fund they’re at, they use an impact lens to inform their decisions. That power is unbelievable.”
– Sandra M. Hunt, Managing Director of the ESG Initiative at the Wharton School
Sandra M. Hunt, Managing Director of the ESG Initiative at the Wharton School, shared that, “Of the thousands of students who have gone through this program, while some of them work directly in impact investing or a corporate sustainability office, many of them don’t. Wherever they are sitting, whatever type of company, organization, or fund they’re at, they use an impact lens to inform their decisions. That power is unbelievable.”
*Note: all investments into winning companies are pending further diligence by Impact Assets.
Disclaimer: The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania does not provide any endorsement, either implicit or explicit, in companies that participate with the Turner MIINT. Neither the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School, nor student participants in the Turner MIINT are investors in participating companies. Companies run by current students of the University of Pennsylvania are not eligible for review by the Turner MIINT.