Understanding the Impact of the Creative Economy


Content: Video Webinar Presentation with Q&A

Length: 1:14:04

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With a 9% annual growth rate, the creative economy generates more than USD 2.25 trillion in revenue and nearly 30 million jobs globally, according to this 2015 EY report. A 2018 report by Cornerstone Capital, Creativity & The Arts: An Emerging Impact Investing Theme makes a strong case for investing in the creative economy as one of the ways “to counter the negative effects of widening income and wealth inequality, and the opportunity gaps that have resulted from the ‘knowledge economy’.” Despite the growing evidence of its impact, the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) 2019 Annual Impact Investor Survey reported that “Arts and Culture” accounted for less than 1% of the USD 239 billion worth of impact assets under management by its global members. But Upstart Co-Lab sees 15% of impact investing focused on the “Creative Economy“.

In this program, Laura Callanan of Upstart Co-Lab moderates a discussion on understanding the impact of the Creative Economy; why it presents an opportunity for impact investors seeking to diversify their portfolios; and who are some of the global leaders pioneering impact investing in the creative economy.



CAROLINA BIQUARD is a lawyer that has dedicated her professional life to strengthening civil society in Argentina. She holds a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Mangement from the New School for Social Research. She founded Fundación Compromiso in 1994 and was the CEO until 2005. Drawing upon the philosophy of management specialist Peter Drucker, Fundación Compromiso develops and spreads a new model of training and support for Argentine social organizations, and helps them articulate their work with the Business and Public Sector.

From 2007-2009, she was National Director of Cultural Industries. She was the President of the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, a Public institution dedicated to financing artistic creation and Argentine culture from 2015 to 2018. During her administration the FNA multiplied its budget fourfold and through the digital transformation her team conducted, the FNA scaled the service from 6,000 artists to 90,000 artists and cultural agents. Carolina is now back at Fundación Compromiso, converting the foundation into an Impact Fund. Compromiso started this year with a very promising strategic investment in the Digital Economy — in a network of schools in digital trades for underserved people. Compromiso received its first investment last month from the JP Morgan Foundation for scaling up the project in Argentina.


GEORGE GACHARA is Managing Partner at Heva Fund, where he works to define strategy, identify investors and funding partners and provide assistance to creative and cultural sector ventures to achieve their growth plans. George has a background in Communication from Daystar University (Kenya), Conflict Prevention and Management from the International Peace and Security Institute (Italy), Design Thinking and Problem Solving from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Private Equity and Venture Capital, Strathmore Business School (Kenya).


JACK MEYERCORD founded Conscious Endeavors LP, a wealth advisory firm focused on impact investing, in 2019. Previously, Jack worked for Bienville Capital as a Portfolio Manager and the Head of Impact Investing. In this role, he helped families and endowments align their investment strategy with their personal values and mission. In addition, Jack actively managed an equity portfolio focused on companies with high ESG and sustainability profiles. Jack has over 20 years of investment experience, mostly in the public equity markets. For the last three years, he has worked as the Managing Partner of Straight Wharf Capital Management LLC. During this time, Jack has advised a family office on creating a multi-asset class portfolio focused on impact investments.

Prior to this, he was the founder and Chief Investment officer of Straight Wharf Asia Master Fund, a long /short equity fund focused on Asian markets, which was seeded by Tiger Management. From 2000 until 2009, Jack focused on investing in public equities in the Asian real estate, telecommunications and consumer sectors at several different hedge funds, including Kelusa Capital, Avenue Capital, and Banyan Fund Management. Jack is a CFA charter holder, received his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Duke University. Born and raised in New Jersey, he now resides in Bronxville, NY.


Laura Callanan

Laura Callanan

Laura Callanan, founding partner of Upstart Co-Lab, is disrupting how creativity is funded by connecting impact investing to the creative economy. Laura was senior deputy chair of the National Endowment for the Arts leading grant-making, operations and research before launching Upstart Co-Lab. Laura was a consultant with McKinsey & Company’s Social Sector Office and associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation where, in addition to responsibilities managing the endowment, she co-led impact investing including investments in the creative economy with Smithsonian Folkways Records and netomat. Laura has been visiting fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, scholar in residence at UC-Berkeley/Haas School of Business, visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome, and recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship. She is a board member and immediate past chair of the GlobalGiving Foundation, is an advisor to Shift Capital, and a member of the British Council Policy and Evidence Centre for the Creative Industries – International Council.

Laurie Lane-Zucker

Laurie Lane-Zucker

Laurie Lane-Zucker is Founder and CEO of Impact Entrepreneur, PBC, an impact economy business that hosts the Impact Entrepreneur Network — a large, global network of “systems-minded” entrepreneurs, investors, and scholars of social and environmental innovation — and editor and publisher of Impact Entrepreneur, a digital magazine covering the emerging Impact Economy. For over 30 years, Laurie has been a “pioneer” (Forbes) and recognized leader in sustainability, social enterprise, and impact investing. Laurie was the founding Executive Director of the international environmental organization, Orion Society, which publishes the celebrated Orion Magazine, as well as the founder of a global sustainability think-tank, the Triad Institute, and Hotfrog, a Founding B Corporation, GIIRS Pioneer Company, and the first company ever to complete an equity transaction on an impact investment exchange. Laurie is the bestselling and multiple award-winning publisher and editor of books and magazines on sustainability and social impact — having worked with such acclaimed authors as Wendell Berry, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, and David James Duncan — and the author of numerous articles on entrepreneurship and impact investing. Laurie is contributing author of the recently published academic textbook from World Scientific, Sustainability: Business and Investment Implications (2023).