Impact Investors talked about some of the challenges that they face during the Transformational Business Network Asia Impact Investing Conference in Singapore on the 6th and 7th of September.
There were a few main takeaways:
- Impact investors are keen to find more investment ready social enterprises! They want to see business that have a solid business plan, and real potential to make a return on their investment. Investors like EN Venkat, a partner at Aavishkaar; Dondi Hananto, representing Unitus Impact in Indonesia; and Nicholas Lazos, Director at Insitor Impact Asia Fund all emphasized that they were looking for investments that would offer a solid return, while making a positive impact.
- Social enterprises need to find the right “match” of investor for their business! Not all social enterprises will create huge returns, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good business! They just need to find the right kind of investment, or other financing so that they can succeed and grow their business. Bert van der Vaart, CEO of Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), and David Galipeau of the UN Social Innovation Fund, talked about the urgent need to develop a range of investment products to serve all kids of social enterprises – from those that are ready and able to scale to those that may be more invested in a specific community.
- Solutions for Urban areas is hot area of interest for investors and bussing entrepreneurs! If you have a business idea to solve the problems of urban waste, traffic, housing or employment, now is a great time to get going! A lot of investors were keen to talk about their investments in these kinds of businesses, and there were a number of social enterprises working in this space represented at the conference.
The event featured an exhibition by social enterprises that featured a number of amazing entrepreneurs from Indonesia!
APPSANI – working to bring low-cost, hygienic toilets to rural communities.
Du’Anyam – improving women’s livelihoods by providing alternative employment in weaving.
EcoSofft – providing technology-based services in water, wastewater, and environmental services.
IndoSole – making durable footwear from tires.
Kerjabilitas – finding work for people with disabilities to create more inclusive employment in Indonesia.
Sekolah Misi Bagi Bangsar – providing education in the slums of Batam.
PBMT – providing venture philanthropy to poverty alleviating social impact projects across Indonesia.
Paloma Shopway – Distributing consumer goods and providing jobs in rural areas through catalogue sales.