This Quarter’s Issue:
Letter from Durreen
I like to that say IIX is not creating a stock exchange… it is creating a movement.
From the get go, IIX has had a life of its own — a life created not by me, but by the amazing people from across the globe who have become involved with IIX. Each of these people who has contributed her/his time to IIX or its sister entity Impact Investment Shujog has brought a passion and belief that she/he could change the world through IIX and Shujog. The amazing thing is that, little by little, they are changing the world and, in the process, laying the foundation to make it equitable and sustainable.
I had a crazy idea a couple of years ago about using capital markets to stimulate sustainable development in Asia. I then talked my life partner Robert Kraybill into joining in. As I was pulling Robert in, we met Sue Suh, and she joined in. Then it was my students at the LKY School; students from the University of Pennsylvania and Insead; students taking a gap year; professionals looking to ‘give back’; friends; people who learned about us through social networks; and the group just grew and grew and grew – and it became a movement. Now we have over 40 volunteers across the globe doing incredible work for IIX and Shujog and leading this spectacular global movement.
This newsletter is a celebration of all these awe inspiring people who are dedicating their precious time, knowledge and resources to the growth of IIX, Shujog and sustainability in Asia.
This newsletter is also an acknowledgement of the spirit of giving without any personal gain and the belief that, together, we can make this world a better place by harnessing “capital markets for social good.”
Thank you all for starting this exhilarating movement. I am so very honored to be a part of it.
IIX Business Highlights
Date set for Bangladesh Impact Forum, Jan. 2011
The date has been set for the inaugural Impact Forum, which will be held on the 10th and 11th of January 2011 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel. This forum will be the first in a series of four Impact Forums to be organized by the Asian Development Bank and IIX and held in countries across the region, including Thailand, India and Singapore. The entire team is really excited as this is the coming-together of almost a year’s worth of hard work by many staff and volunteers at IIX. The forum will bring together Social Enterprises, Impact Investors, and ecosystem players in a two-day event, featuring a diverse list of high profile speakers including academics, industry professionals and accomplished social entrepreneurs. The preparations for the forum are reaching their final stages, with the team working with our ADB colleagues to finalize the logistics. We truly believe the forum will be an important first event to usher in the new year – as we look to bring together all the various stakeholders in the Impact Investment “ecosystem” who share in the common vision that IIX is creating.
Impact Partners Platform Launch
IIX is set to launch the first of its platforms — Impact Partners — in the first quarter of 2011. Impact Partners will be an exclusive network connecting social venture funds and other impact investors with a carefully screened group of social enterprises seeking private investment. It has secured its first social venture fund members and is working with Shujog to screen the initial batch of social enterprises for the platform. The launch of Impact Partners is the first step in delivering on IIX’s mission of facilitating impact investment in Asian social enterprises and is expected to deepen IIX’s relationship with both impact investors and SEs.
Impact Exchange Platform Development
Significant progress is also being made in readying IIX’s regulated exchange, Impact Exchange. The team has made significant progress in working through regulatory and operational issues and has begun drafting a rule book and listing manual. Impact Exchange is targeted for launch towards the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012.
Under the leadership of our new Director of Strategic Partnerships, Komal Sahu, IIX continues to reach out to members of the investment ecosystem, including lawyers, accountants, rating agencies, investment banks and private banks, to enlist support for IIX’s work. This effort is well advanced in Singapore and Bangladesh, and is also underway in India, Thailand and other countries in South and Southeast Asia.
First Impact Seminar
In July, IIX hosted its first Impact Seminar entitled “Impact Investing: A Toolkit for Market Professionals.” The seminar provided an introduction to the impact investment sector and impact measurement techniques to investment professionals on both the buyside and the sellside. The seminar, which was co-hosted by Bloomberg, was a great success with over 80 attendees.
Shujog Business Highlights
ADB Technical Assistance Program Approved
ADB has given final approval to a regional technical assistance program to support the development of a social stock exchange for Asia. A portion of the funds allocated to this program will support research being conducted by Shujog and others throughout the region.
Market Readiness Work Beginning
Shujog is commencing its market readiness work with Social Enterprises throughout the region. This work will focus on assessing the readiness of SEs to attract and effectively utilize impact investment capital and then in building their capacity to do so. Several ecosystem partners are playing a key role in this work.
Mona Sinha, who as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Shujog has been leading the team planning the Bangladesh forum, recently joined the Board of Shujog. Mona also serves on the Board of Trustees of Smith College and is an Advisory Director of Breakthrough, a human rights organization based in the US and India.
Magnus Young of Norway recently joined the team as our Research Associate. Magnus has experience in impact measurement, accounting, and public finance and speaks six languages.
Lina Tang, a native of Seattle, Washington, recently joined us as our Business Development Associate. After years working on CSR for Starbucks, Lina knows her coffee! She also knows the social enterprise sector in North Asia. Most recently, Lina worked for the Grameen Foundation in Hong Kong.
Together, Lina and Magnus conducted Shujog’s first workshop at the Social Entrepreneurship conference organized by the Rotary Club of Singapore. They are both great professors in the making!
Impact Chat Series Launched
Our new Impact Chat series is creating a buzz in Singapore. The chats seek to inform, engage and stimulate the impact investing community in South East Asia. The chats are informal discussions with an exciting and diverse group of speakers. The series kicked off with a wide ranging discussion on microfinance and social enterprise in Bangladesh featuring Mr. Muzummul Huq, former general manager of Grameen Bank, on July 15, 2010.The lastest Impact Chat, focusing on Pakistan and entitled ‘Growth after Recovery,’ was held on November 14, 2010. The featured speakers were Pakistan Ambassador to Singapore H. E. Fauzia Mazhar Sana and Prof. Mahboob Mahmood of Insead. The Impact Chat series is sponsored by Corum, the luxury Swiss watch maker whose motto “unlock and conquer” seems to embody our goal for the social enterprise sector, with media coverage by Prestige magazine. To view more event photos, visit us on Facebook.
Meet Some of the IIX and Shujog Volunteers from Across the Globe
Wharton International Volunteers Program team (USA)
In August, IIX got its very own “SWAT team,” a group of four Wharton MBA students who volunteered with IIX for a two-week consulting engagement. We came from a mix of backgrounds. Yin had worked in consulting with Bain; Chad’s experience was in the construction industry; and Gabriela had just completed her Masters in Non-Profit Leadership. As for me, I was the token native Singaporean with some investment banking and central banking experience.
In our brief two weeks, we helped to rewrite IIX’s business plan and revise its financial model, all in preparation for IIX’s upcoming plans to raise its first equity round. Through many meetings with the IIX team, we helped crystallize plans for new phases of business development and new revenue streams.
Everyone in the office was eager to share their knowledge and generous with their time. We made fast friends with the other summer interns over many cups of kopi and had long discussions about local food, Singlish, and the Night Safari.
We learned a tremendous amount and had an amazing time in Singapore. It was a privilege to be part of IIX for those couple of weeks.
Sikander Malik (Germany)
My first exposure to social enterpreneurship was as a student of Prof. Shahnaz at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in 2009. Inspired by her class my interest in the field continued to grow after I returned to Germany. Thus I was happy to be able to return to Singapore to pursue an internship with Shujog and IIX this Fall. I am involved with development of the Impact Partners platform and coordinating the Impact Forum in Bangladesh. My work as a volunteer combines both the development of personal skills and the knowledge of doing something impactful that may change the world.
Will Chua (Malaysia/Singapore/USA)
When I first walked into Professor Shahnaz’s office in July 2009, IIX was just an idea. Yet in less than a year, that idea burst into life. As one of the first volunteers in a start-up environment I was asked to have a hand in everything – research reports, administration, surveys, work plans, presentations, high level meetings with ecosystem players, potential funders, workshops, conferences, etc. I look back in awe because of the structure that has emerged out of all the initial raw energy. Less than a year later we have secured official Rockefeller support, formed strategic partnerships, moved into a cool office, and have clearly defined work streams staffed with talented people, and we’re well on the way to building a social stock exchange!
Seo Seung-Chul (Japan)
I first came to know of IIX in September 2009 through Twitter when I was staying in Rwanda. I was very much excited to learn that there was a team in Singapore that was actually preparing to develop a capital market for social enterprises in Asia, which had been my long-term personal dream. As part of the media team, I am in charge of sharing news about IIX and sending out information related to impact investment through Twitter.
Alvin Loke (Singapore/USA)
I still remember the first day I met Rob at IIX’s old office for an interview — there must have been at least ten people squeezed into a tiny office, half the size of the current office. That was just four months ago, and it is amazing to see the amount of progress since then. I quickly came to understand the dynamism of the organization. There is always a buzz about the office and always work that needs to be done. The next thing I came to appreciate is the people: the diversity – in background, nationality, and even age – was amazing, and I was even more impressed by the caliber of the team. It was a truly humbling experience. I worked mostly on the forum, but I also was pulled into many other projects, which was an eye-opening experience. While I continue to enjoy volunteering from Philadelphia, what I miss most about not being in the office is seeing my amazing colleagues, because IIX is really more than just a workplace – it is “family.”
Melanie Lei (USA)
This summer, I began working from Taiwan as a member of the IIX social media and communications team. As a Penn undergraduate majoring in International Health and English, with a background in nonprofit work and a strong commitment to civic engagement, I would have never imagined myself to be working for a company with the words “stock exchange” in its title! Yet I am incredibly thankful for the day I asked my good friend Alvin Loke, “What exactly are you doing this summer?” After just one visit to the IIX website, I was hooked. Today I find myself working with the IIX team to update that very same website, as well as creating this newsletter and managing our G-20 voting campaign (vote for us here!). IIX has made me realize that there are sustainable and even profitable solutions to our globe’s most pressing issues, and has sparked a genuine interest in social entrepreneurship and impact investing. The experience has been amazing, and I cannot wait for the developments that are to come!
Ayushi Agnihotri (India/Singapore)
At Shujog I have focused on researching the regulatory issues for SEs in Indonesia. Any initiative to encourage social enterprise in a country must be based on a clear understanding of the legal and tax implications of such efforts and the overall regulatory environment governing them. However, the regulatory environment for social enterprise is a largely undeveloped area in the nonprofit law in most emerging market countries. My experience so far has been great, and I have learned not just about my field of work but have hugely benefited from the immensely energetic and smart team at IIX and Shujog.
Nadia Anggraini and Shijie Lu (Indonesia/Singapore/USA)
Shijie and Nadia interned with Shujog and IIX in Spring and Summer of 2010, respectively. During their internships, Nadia worked primarily on researching social venture funds and writing proposals for workshops, while Shijie focused on researching and writing grant proposals.
Prior to their stint at IIX, both Shijie and Nadia were on gap years following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania. Shijie divided his time between working for Ashoka in India, the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, and Acumen Fund based out of Singapore, while Nadia completed a Kiva Fellowship in Indonesia. Shijie is currently working at Deloitte Consulting, while Nadia is at the Boston Consulting Group, both in San Francisco.
Rachel Chin (Singapore/UK)
I am interning with IIX in the months before beginning my legal training at Allen & Gledhill LLP, Singapore in Jan 2011. I wanted to explore the relationships between law, society and economics, and have found that IIX is a perfect manifestation of such interactions. I am involved in the regulatory aspects of the IIX trading platform, as well as Social Enterprise mapping and research. IIX has a great team and I am glad to be an active participant in this exciting initiative!
Fabian Suwanprateep (Germany/Singapore/USA)
I am part of the regulatory research team at Shujog, with a special focus on Thailand. Joining this team was a logical choice as I am a graduate student in Public Policy and International Affairs. My research focuses on regulatory issues and the role of government in social enterprise development.
Huong Pham (Vietnam)
I volunteer to work on IIX and Shujog’s ecosystem project in Thailand. My role is to engage with key stakeholders who have the expertise to make a difference in a social enterprise’s life cycle and get them involved with this amazing project. What I enjoy most about working with the brilliant and compassionate IIX team is that even though I work from Vietnam, everyone always makes an effort to be available whenever I need support with great ideas and enthusiasm.
Francis Doumet (Lebanon/USA)
The 3-months I spent at IIX as a Summer Fellow were an incredible opportunity to oversee the launch of the company’s Impact Investor research. The goal of this research is to understand the needs and requirements of this new breed of investors that are increasingly seeking to squeeze the most social impact out of their financial investments.
Recent Conferences and Public Appearances
World Fair Trade Organization Asia
Durreen was the keynote speaker at the World Fair Trade Organization – Asia’s bi-annual Regional Conference in Dhaka on September 24 – 26. Her presentation generated a number of inquiries from fair trade organizations around the region which are interested in working with Shujog and IIX to access investment capital.
Mona Sinha and Natalie Williams spoke to a gathering of the group 85 Broads, an international network of professional women, at a brunch event at Spuntini in Hong Kong on Sunday, Sept. 5. Mona and Natalie presented a compelling case for why IIX and Shujog will fill an important social need – helping social enterprises in Asia through new means of raising capital. They explained to the group what social enterprises (SEs) are and why Asia is such a fertile ground for SEs. Yet despite their successes, SEs face several challenges — capital, capacity and clarity — and discussed how these three “Cs” could be addressed by IIX and Shujog.
Sustainable Stock Exchanges 2010 (Xiamen, China)
The Sustainable Stock Exchanges dialogue was organized by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment to examine how stock exchanges can promote sustainable business practices and responsible capital markets. While much of the dialogue focused on improving standards of reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices by traditional companies, IIX’s vision of an exchange serving social enterprises and requiring a level of reporting well beyond that contemplated by traditional exchanges was received well by investors, exchanges and other participants.
At the Annual Asian Summit for Sustainable Innovation, held in Singapore on October 8-9, 2010, Durreen spoke about “Defiant Capitalism” for the theme of “human progress.” Watch the video “Setting the Wheels of QIlaboration in Motion,” which features Durreen speaking with Aidha President Sarah Mavrinac, Carbon Conservation CEO Dorjee Sun, and Nobel Prize Laureate President Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor Leste.
And not forgetting…
IIX was also represented at SOCAP 10 in San Francisco and at the Asia Microfinance Forum in Colombo in October. SOCAP10 is the largest interdisciplinary gathering of players in social capital markets, bringing together Impact Investors, social entrepreneurs, funders, and other innovators. The Asia Microfinance Forum, convened by Banking With The Poor Network and sponsored by the Citi Foundation, is the largest gathering focused on Microfinance in Asia.