Jennifer Gibson worked as a financial advisor for over a decade for multiple well-known, high-profile firms such as TIAA, Morgan Stanley, and Northwestern Mutual. She helped clients plan for their future and understand the complexities and opportunities of the markets. However, she always remembered getting her MBA at Brandeis University’s International Business School. There, she met classmates from 72 different countries and her eyes were opened to global issues faced by millions. This exposure sparked a passion for international affairs. This passion, in combination with her love for finance, led to the creation and repurposing of traditional capital market-based financial models to help solve global humanitarian crises. Today, Jennifer is currently working to bring forth a self-sustaining, capital markets-based model that will seek to provide business capital to entrepreneurial refugees and small-to--medium-sized businesses who commit to hiring, promoting, and training refugees in host countries.
The initiative seeks to fund refugee related businesses, while giving them access to international markets at non-exploitative interest rates. In fact, using a revenue based model, they would only pay the loans back if they profit. “We will work to set each company up with an international buyer of the good/service they are providing, and a business mentor who can help it meet those companies’ targets,” Jennifer explains. “The idea is that our lendees will be able to grow their business and pay a certain percentage of revenue back for a predetermined number of years based on their success. After that, 100% of the business and revenue is theirs. Once cash flows from this lending are normalized, we will seek to securitize the loans to allow the capital markets to fully sustain the program, thus making it independent of future necessary philanthropic or government budget dollars. We ultimately strive to not provide a Band-Aid, but to change the system oppressing refugees through repurposing traditional Wall Street models and redistribution of global capital.”
Now, Jennifer is working on pulling in the best and brightest minds with experience in running programs like this. These include large philanthropic leaders and organizations, leading private equity firms and banks, and government agencies like USAID, as well as international leaders who share these values. “Having worked in capital markets, I think there’s a missing piece and an opportunity,” Jennifer says. “Right now, projects are started with an eye on profit potential for shareholders. My focus is to create a self-sustaining project to serve the refugee community that can operate at cost plus a minimum required return. I believe the idea could change the world for millions.”
Jennifer is also the founder and president of Maslow’s Light is a certified 501(c)(3) dedicated to social justice.
President & Founder — Maslow’s Light