Going from ‘Niche to Mass’ and impacting a billion lives

IIX and Shujog, two Singapore-based Social Enterprises (SEs) focused on raising impact investment capital and magnifying SEs’ impact across Asia Pacific, hosted the sixth annual Impact Forum on June 12-13, which took place simultaneously in Paris and Singapore.

Impact Forum 2014 was the first forum that IIX and Shujog hosted across two continents in Singapore and Paris. The gatherings hosted over 500 delegates including over 110 speakers from 36 countries around the world.

The bi-continental nature of the Forum highlights the global nature of impact investing, reflecting the theme “From Niche to Mass”. The sessions focused on bridging the gap between mainstream capital markets and the so-far niche but growing area of impact investing and highlighted the need to change the dialogue in impact investing, which has been centered around risks and returns, to maximizing social impact to human lives.

As the founder of IIX and Shujog, Prof Durreen Shahnaz put it, “it is not only about achieving $1 trillion dollars in investment by 2020 it is also about positively impacting a billion lives by 2020.” This sentiment was echoed by Samantha Morshed, a successful Social Entrepreneur from Bangladesh and founder of Hathay Buneno, “as Social Entrepreneurs, regardless of which field we are in, we are all working for the same end – for empowerment of those that are the most disadvantaged.”

The Forum saw various members of the SE ecosystem – lawyers, bankers, donor agencies, consultants and others in working to grow the impact investing space share their insights and experiences on growing the market in both Paris and Singapore. Over the two days, discussions took place on issues such as social and economic inequality, democratization of capital, scalability and universality of impact investment on a global scale as well as at a regional level in Asia, Africa and Europe.

A common theme that was repeatedly asserted at the Forum was the significance of the SE’s business model scalability – particularly in terms of attracting future capital. Mr Steve Okun, Director of Public Affairs of KKR in Asia Pacific, commented: “the Forum underscored that for impact investing to go from niche to mass, great demand must be met in finding ways to help Social Enterprises grow and in the process become investment ready. IIX is an ideal partner and platform to help make that happen.”

In addition, a number of SEs also had the opportunity to present their business case and impact in front of the delegates and accredited investors in a showcase during the Forum. Giovanni Alingog of Glovax Biotech, an SE that participated in the showcase, made the observation that “impact investments and Social Enterprises, together, are truly a global phenomena. There is no stopping now – impact investing will soon become the primary model for investments.”

Impact Forum 2014 started conversations on how to grow the impact investing space in terms of the number of lives affected as well as the amount of dollars returned. IIX and Shujog is committed in its role to continue this conversation and work towards projects that will bring social capital from niche to mass and do its part to impact a billion lives.

About IIX

Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) is a Singapore-based organization with a mission to provide Social Enterprises (SEs) in Asia greater access to investment capital, allowing them to more rapidly expand the impact of their activities. IIX offers three investment platforms – Impact Incubator™, Impact Partners™ and Impact Exchange™. Impact Incubator focuses on raising seed capital for start-up SEs, while Impact Partners is a private placement platform dedicated to growth-stage SEs seeking expansion capital. IIX also recently announced the launch of Impact Exchange, operated by the Stock Exchange of Mauritius in collaboration with IIX. Impact Exchange is the world’s first social stock exchange, a regulated stock exchange dedicated to listing and trading securities issued by mature SEs and other socially-driven organizations.IIX is based in Singapore. More information can be found at www.asiaiix.com

About Impact Investment Shujog Limited (Shujog)

Shujog is a not-for-profit SE based in Singapore. Its mission is to strengthen, deepen, and expand the impact SEs deliver in poor and marginalized communities. To date, nearly 1 million underserved people have benefited from Shujog’s social value creation; over 1,200 impact investing professionals have been introduced to the social finance space through education and training; and more than 20,000 people have been engaged and exposed to the field of social enterprises and impact investing through Shujog’s work. As Shujog diversifies its impact-driven activities across countries and sectors, its footprint in Asia Pacific has become both broad and deep, allowing us to effectively play the intermediary role, be a thought leader, and build bridges among stakeholders.More information can be found at www.shujog.org

For media queries, please contact: Li Kah Yan, AdvocacyEmail: kli@asiaiix.comTelephone: (65) 6221 7051

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