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Societal Impact Financing Initiative (SciFi)

The Societal Impact Financing Initiative (SciFi) at ESMT Berlin emerged from the Dialog Neues Geben, an informal exchange between wealth owners, impact investing and philanthropy experts. SciFi seeks to contribute to making progress on financing major societal transformations.

A particular focus lies on harnessing the catalytic potential of private capital for the common good. Starting from the DACH region, SciFi aims to advance giving, impact investing and mission-oriented public-private partnerships in Europe and beyond. Specifically, SciFi prioritizes two major societal transformations:

  • Sustainability: Achieving CO2 reduction targets fairly.

  • Education: Enabling potential of all

Tailored financing tools and cross-sector coalitions are needed to pilot and scale innovative approaches. SciFi brings together a variety of stakeholders for this purpose: impact entrepreneurs, wealth owners, foundations, and, where needed, business and politics. In particular, it aims at promoting the strategic and pooled use of resources: what is the specific role of private capital to advance transformations? What do optimal financing structures look like? How can endowments be managed in an impact-oriented way?

SciFi is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

Upcoming Events

SciFi annual flagship event

Expert Forum Adaptation and Mitigation Finance

September 9th, 2024

With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, our event brings together:

•    Leading international climate finance scholars 
•    Policy stakeholders 
•    Investors 
•    Development finance institutions
•    Foundations

The Expert Forum Adaptation and Mitigation Finance takes place just one day prior to the World Bank conference on Climate Finance, Innovate4Climate, which takes place in Berlin this year. 

For more information, contact

Draft Agenda

  • Opening keynote: Climate action and sustainable development

  • Session:  Aligning the interests of the public and private sector to mobilize climate finance

  • Political keynote: Strengthening international and cross-sector collaboration to achieve climate goals

  • Session: Challenging the status quo: Adaptation and mitigation finance today

  • Session: Effective levers to mobilize climate finance

  • Case study session with Q&A

  • Investor keynote and Q&A: Moving the needle on adaptation and mitigation finance

  • Session: Concessional finance as an enabler for mitigation & adaptation finance

  • Networking dinner

Past events

SciFi flagship events

Expert Forum Blended Finance for climate and energy investments 

March 27th, 2023

Our expert forum brought together different stakeholders to reflect how to jointly mobilize more capital to tackle the climate crisis:

  • European Banks and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)
  • Institutional investors and asset managers
  • Large foundations and family offices interested in climate finance


Roundtable on endowment management (in German)

February 9th, 2022

With 3 panels: return on investment, ESG / sustainable finance and impact investing

Cooperation events


Podcast: Financing Impact

  Podcast logo 2 

Financing Impact is a podcast about funding and scaling societal innovation. This podcast is brought to you by SciFi, the Societal Impact Financing Initiative at ESMT Berlin. See detailed episode overview & key takeaways.



See key takeways and links related to each episode:

  • # 1 Dormant assets - with Stephen Muers and Antonis Schwarz
  • # 2 Funding social businesses - with Aunnie Patton Power and Julia Winkler
  • # 3 Power dynamics in funding - with Marta Zaccagini and Ben Wrobel
  • # 4 Systems thinking for climate finance - with Dominic Hofstetter and Kirsten Dunlop
  • # 5 Fostering social innovation - with Gorgi Krlev and Dominik Domnik
  • # 6 Deep impact investing - with Charly Kleissner
  • # 7 Impact investing in public markets - with Krisztina Tora and Eric Rice
  • # 8 Impact investing in EdTech - with Marie-Christine Levet and John Soleanicov
  • # 9 Institutional investors and net zero - with Brunno Maradei and Wiebke Merbeth
  • # 10 Malengo - with Johannes Haushofer, Richard Nerland and Gladys Amule
  • # 11 Impact Investing in Frontier Markets - with Patrick Nussbaumer and Winnie Odhiambo 
  • # 12 Research-practice partnerships (RPPs) - with Katia Halabi and Raji Jayamaran

Endowment Management

Roundtable on endowment management

Roundtable Stiftungsvermögen

Past event (2022), in German

Hybride Veranstaltung am 9.02.2022 mit 3 Panels zu:

  1. Rendite in Zeiten des Nullzinses
  2. ESG / nachhaltiges Investieren
  3. Impact Investing

Übersicht der Panelisten und Panelistinnen und Aufzeichnung der Panels.


From left to right: Dieter Lehmann (VolkswagenStiftung), Ulrich Müller (Joachim Herz Stiftung), Sissi Hajtmanek (Journalist and Moderator), Georg Garlichs (ESMT Berlin), Anja Mikus (KENFO), Bernhard Knappe (Wilhelm Sander Stifung)

From left to right: Dieter Lehmann (VolkswagenStiftung), Ulrich Müller (Joachim Herz Stiftung), Sissi Hajtmanek (Journalist and Moderator), Georg Garlichs (ESMT Berlin), Anja Mikus (KENFO), Bernhard Knappe (Wilhelm Sander Stifung)


Olga Almqvist

Senior Manager, Societal Impact Financing Initiative (SciFi)

Lars Hartenstein

Non-Executive Chairperson

Laura Ulloa

Student Assistant, Societal Impact Financing Initiative (SciFi)