Phip Berber

Philip Berber | 2015 AACSB Influential Leader

Philip  Berber

Co-Founder and Chairman, A Glimmer of Hope

Honoree Year: 2015

Alma Mater:

University College Cublin

UCD College of Business


Area of Impact:

Social Enterprise

Philip Berber was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1958. He attended Wesley College, Dublin, and went to University College Dublin (UCD), where he studied commerce (BComm ’79). He moved to London in 1979 and met his wife Donna a few years later. They moved to Houston, Texas, in 1991 and then to Austin, Texas, in 1995, where they now live with their three sons. Berber is a technology entrepreneur, now engaged in philanthropy, international aid, social entrepreneurship, and impact investing.

Berber sold CyBerCorp, his online brokerage for day traders, to Charles Schwab for 488 million USD in the year 2000. He and his wife, Donna, then formed and funded A Glimmer of Hope, pledging 100 million USD of Schwab stock to endow the foundation.

Berber’s latest venture is Enable Impact, which involves designing and developing an online platform to connect all of the players in the global social venture and impact investing community—a group that includes social entrepreneurs, impact investors, advisors, incubators, and accelerators.

After graduating from UCD and moving to London, Berber held positions in the marketing departments of Ford, Avon Cosmetics, and Bausch & Lomb. In 1988, Philip founded Financia, his first startup, which was bought in 1991 by Frontier Financial. In 1993, he joined GK Capital and then left to form his own company in 1995 called CyBerCorp, an electronic brokerage group.

In March of 2000, CyBerCorp sold for 488 million USD to the Charles Schwab organization. The sale allowed Berber to develop his plans for a new model of philanthropy and international aid. Berber and his wife currently operate their own family foundation called A Glimmer of Hope. In Ethiopia, A Glimmer of Hope provides humanitarian aid and microcredit initiatives.

A Glimmer of Hope has constructed more than 4,000 water projects, 335 school buildings, and 170 health facilities and has distributed more than 17,000 micro-finance loans to bring better quality of life and sustainable work to those living in rural Ethiopia. The foundation has positively impacted the lives of more than 2.5 million people in the areas of water and sanitation, education, healthcare, enterprise, and agriculture.

The Glimmer of Hope model focuses on four areas of development: water, health, education, and micro-finance. Having spent more than a decade on the ground in rural Ethiopia, the team at A Glimmer of Hope feels that the experience and knowledge gained from indigenous Ethiopian development organizations has shown that the integration of these four sectors provides those living in extreme poverty with the best chance of improving their lives.

Berber is also a very generous supporter of his alma mater, and as he was a major donor to the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, the Berber Atrium is named in his honor. He also funds the Berber Family Chair of Entrepreneurship at UCD School of Business.