Students at the UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School will soon have the opportunity to expand their venture capital experience by helping launch and manage a new $250,000 fund that will focus on socially responsible principles in investing. 

“This social-impact fund is a wonderful intersection of areas for which UNC Kenan-Flagler has a long track record of excellence: investment management, sustainability and real-life learning,” said Carol Hee, director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “Our students will be able to test their hypotheses about what makes one company better than another using the triple bottom line as the metric.”

What’s socially responsible investing?

Here’s a definition from Investopedia:

“An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common themes for socially responsible investments include avoiding investment in companies that produce or sell addictive substances (like alcohol, gambling and tobacco) and seeking out companies engaged in environmental sustainability and alternative energy/clean technology efforts.”

 MBA undergraduate students will manage the fund, which is expected to launch in the 2015-2016 academic year.

It’s the latest addition to a series of funds that now total more than $12 million. The student-led funds are supported by the UNC Management Company, which also oversees UNC-Chapel Hill’s endowment and foundation funds.

“[T]he goal for all of them is to achieve superior returns while providing students with a unique educational experience. Students have access to all aspects of the fund management and investment analysis and those experiences and the skills they develop prepare them for careers in investing,” Kenan-Flager says. 

The new fund will be managed in conjunction with the school’s Applied Investment Management’s (AIM) Global Perspectives Fund. it’s a hedge fund with $2.5 million in assets.

The GPF fund, which also is managed by students, “supplements a finance curriculum with cooperative, experiential learning which develops tangible skills in global macroeconomic asset allocation, portfolio management, and investment communication,” the school says.