Sarah Forster


Appointed: June 2014

Skills and Experience

Sarah co-founded The Good Economy in 2015 to enhance the role of business and finance in inclusive and sustainable development. She acts as a trusted advisor to clients across the private, public and social sectors.

From 2007 to 2015, Sarah was Deputy CEO of Big Issue Invest (BII), the social investment arm of The Big Issue. She played a key role in growing BII from start-up to becoming one of the UK's leading and most pioneering social impact investment intermediaries. Prior to this, Sarah worked for the New Economics Foundation, responsible for research and policy work to advance the fields of social investment, community development finance and measuring social returns on investment.

Sarah started her career in international development working for Afghanaid, a charity providing emergency aid and livelihoods support to war-torn communities in Afghanistan, based in Peshawar, Pakistan. From 1992 to 2001, she worked for the World Bank where she had a fast-track career from Young Professional to Senior Economist. She led the design of large-scale poverty alleviation investment projects in Africa, South Asia and the Balkans, with a focus on microfinance, municipal finance and community-led development.

Sarah developed expertise in post-conflict countries and spent four years living in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina working with the team responsible for managing the $5 billion post-war reconstruction and development programme. Achievements included leading the award-winning Local Initiatives Project, which established a national wholesale institution that successfully supported the development of sustainable microfinance institutions providing access to financial services to low-income entrepreneurs at scale. The project design was later replicated in several other countries.

Sarah has a BA from Queen's College, Cambridge University, an MA in Economic and Political Development from the School of Public and International Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University, New York and in 2017, Sarah was recognised as one of the UK's leading Women in Social Enterprise.

External Appointments

  • Non-Executive Director, BioGuinea (Guinea-Bissau)