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Sir Ronald Cohen urges industry to use skills to reduce inequality

The chairman of socially-minded investment firm Bridges Ventures yesterday won PEI Media’s inaugural Private Equity Leader Award 2008 for his work building Apax Partners and leading the drive behind social entrepreneurship.

Sir Ronald Cohen called on the global private equity industry to use its skills to reduce the worst effects of capitalism and to help the people the system leaves behind.

Sir Ronald Cohen

Speaking as he collected PEI Media’s inaugural Private Equity Leader Award for 2008, Cohen said the expertise developed during a career in private equity could be used in addressing underlying social costs of an entrepreneurial system.
He said: “As we have seen from the success of Bridges Ventures, which recently raised a second fund of £75 million it is possible to be successful in business and to deliver social benefits. Financial returns are the locomotive and social returns are the carriages [of the train].”
Bridges invests in the UK’s poorest regions.
Cohen’s award presentation was the culmination of a spectacular evening at the Natural History Museum in London in celebration of Private Equity International’s Global Award Winners.

PEI Awards Dinner

Guests at the party also heard John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist magazine, speak about the global economy and the US presidential race.
A charity fundraising in support of Down Syndrome Education International and Sparkles, two charities focussed on helping young people with Down Syndrome, garnered more then £100,000.

Abraaj Capital, the Middle Eastern investment firm, made the largest donation and was the fund’s cornerstone investor.