Students of the Bachelor in Politics, Law, & Economics at IE University recently completed their capstone project, working alongside asset management company Gawa Capital.
The Gawa project is a project that we offer to all students to participate in and it consist of developing and doing an economic, political, and legal analysis for a social impact fund. In particular, this year, they chose to do it for a specific cooperative in Colombia. Agustín Vitorica, the founder and co-CEO of Gawa Capital, tells us about his experience working with the students on this project.
Social impact investment is a financial investment that has the intention of having a positive social impact on excluded individuals and an impact that has to be measurable. It is investing in a good way of attracting money from private investors to meet the sustainable development goals approved by the United Nations.
The project about agricultural cooperatives in Colombia is going to be very useful for us because it provides background information about the importance and social impact of the cooperative sector, and specifically, they’ve been able to identify one specific investment opportunity for us, which is Colanta.
The future for us is going to decide whether we are able to make on-site due diligence in Colombia and to decide if Colanta—with all the information gathered from the ground—is a good investment target for us.
They were very quickly able to find the sources of information, to find not only the political and legal framework of the cooperative sector; but also they did a great job nailing it down to a specific region, in terms of the importance of the cooperative sector for farming.
From there, they identified a number of potential targets for investment, and they really came out with one target that was amazing, a target that represents 10% of all the small holders involved in farming in Colombia.
One of the students, Alen Tadevosyan, tells us about the project:
“The project was really intensive, and we had weekly meetings with the group and the leader, Agustín. Together we were engaged in active secondary research, analyzing the sector of agriculture in Colombia, as well as primary research, conducted by ourselves, and trying to mediate the communication between the potential investment opportunities, such as a cooperative we’ve identified based in Colombia, and Gawa Capital.”
Lea Mathies, a student who participated in Gawa, share her experience with us:
“One of the most interesting things about the project was to see how you work with different people, different backgrounds, different experiences. I think we complemented each other very well, and we ended up with a very successful product. Regarding Agustín, he was a great help for us, and in general, it was a great experience. We really managed to apply what we learned in class to a practical case. Of course, we’re used to doing them; the teachers give us practical cases, but this was an actual, real-life experience of company investment.
I think it is super useful for our future professional life since that’s what we’re going to be doing: analyzing opportunities and identifying the things that matter most to us, and sort of analyzing the context and the principal elements of how to make investment decisions.”