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Course description

Sustainable development and sustainability as drivers for venture impact and scale are growing exponentially across Latin America. In this course, we will learn from experts in sustainable ventures and development and focus in on impact reporting for sustainable and impactful ventures. To gain our on-the-ground experience and exposure, this course will sharpen its focus onto Mexico and Ecuador - two middle-income countries dedicating financial and infrastructure resources towards sustainability and community economic development.

Ecuador has enacted bold regulation aimed at stopping deforestation and promoting the production of sustainable products. Dependence on fossil fuels, forestry, and mining will pose challenges to success. Many ventures and efforts have begun, and some are mature in their operation in the sustainability sector in Ecuador.

In 2020, Mexico issued the world’s first-ever Sovereign Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Bond, worth $890M USD, to leverage private capital to finance SDG-related programs and ventures. Since then, Mexico has committed even more bond-financed support, specifically around poverty eradication. Mexico has for many years fostered sustainable ventures and ventures focused on impact, particularly in the areas of agriculture, technology, and workforce development.

In this course, we will learn and hear from country-based experts on sustainable ventures overall, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, financing for sustainable development and sustainable or impact ventures, and growth and scaling pathways for these ventures. With that base of knowledge, we will move on to explore sustainability and impact reporting and quantification. Meaningful reporting and value assignment will form the crux of the group project for this course.

Throughout this class, special attention will be paid to history, culture, community, and ecosystems which inform each country’s societal needs as well as the methods by which sustainable ventures form and scale. In addition to learning from local experts and reading on these subjects, students will learn about social impact and sustainability frameworks for systems change, stakeholder engagement, and economy-level drivers of and impediments to environmental and human progress and initiatives.


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Faculty and advisor bios

Faculty bio

Megan Kashner is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Kellogg's Public-Private Interface and Director of Social Impact. In her leadership of Kellogg's Social Impact offerings, Kashner focuses on the areas of impact investing, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, nonprofit management, policy, global development, public-private partnerships, values and ethics. Kashner and the Social Impact team within KPPI support Kellogg faculty, students and alumni as they lead the way in blending economic, social and environmental factors into management organizations and markets to deliver lasting benefits for society. Kashner leads up the global Impact & Sustainable Finance Faculty Consortium, the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, the Moskowitz Prize, and more collaborative work at the intersection of markets and impact.

Kashner came to Kellogg from an extensive career in the impact sector, most recently as the Founder of Benevolent, a philanthropic platform that invites donors to step in and fill gaps in the safety net for low-income families. Kashner is a self-proclaimed "ticked-off social worker" with more than 20 years of strategic management, community partnership building and organizational planning experience across nonprofits, philanthropy, volunteerism and corporate social engagement.

Prior to founding Benevolent, Kashner served as an Executive Director at the Taproot Foundation and in executive and innovation roles in nonprofits and companies across the impact sector. Kashner has been featured at the White House, at national conferences on philanthropy and entrepreneurship, on CNN Headline News, FastCompany, Mashable, Working Mother, MSNBC, The New Yorker, Financial Times, Newsweek, The New York Times and more.

Kashner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Illinois and holds a B.A. in Public Policy from Brown University, an M.S.W. from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Kellogg.

Advisor bio

Kate Hardwick works as a program manager of Executive Education, offering specific plans and pathways for professional growth and functional development for individuals and teams as well as broader strategies for enterprise-wide executive development efforts.

As a program manager, she oversees all operations and logistics for a portfolio of these programs with a special emphasis on global execution including Chicago, NYC, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Jakarta and Hong Kong. As an account manager, she also liaises with our global academic partners in arranging various certificate programs on our Evanston, Chicago and Miami campuses.