Women, Peace and Parity: Speech at Wharton San Francisco

The following speech was delivered by IIX Founder and CEO Professor Durreen Shahnaz on October 24th at Wharton San Francisco, for IIX and Knowledge@Wharton’s event “Women, Peace and Parity: Using Finance as a Tool For Progress.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Knowledge@Wharton and IIX’s joint event, ‘Women, Peace and Parity’. Thank you all for joining us today to celebrate the United Nations – so Happy United Nations Day. Today is a celebration of women — the Sustainable Development Goals #5 – Gender Equality, a celebration of Peace – SDG goal # 16, and a celebration of partnerships – SDG #17, because as we know, to undertake the mammoth task of creating a peaceful and equitable society – it takes women and it takes a village.

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What’s the Big Risk?

Coming from a corporate fortune 500 setting, I will be the first to admit that I typically fall into the trap of looking at the same standard criteria when assessing the feasibility of a new social impact investment program [i]:  market need, market size, business model, financial model and strategic fit. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of effort and intelligence goes into developing each of the above.

However, after attending the IIX Impact Institute Executive Certificate Program: Financing the SDGs, I came to realize one large blind spot:  Risk.

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Why invest in impact? – In Conversation with Mark Joenje, CEO of ICCO Investments

Why should investors join the impact investment movement? IIX interviewed ICCO Investments’ CEO, Mark Joenje, for a candid look into the opportunities and challenges for investors within the space.

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Debt-Based Crowdfunding: From Micro Enterprise to Small/Medium Enterprise

[Image Credit: Waterdotorg / Flickr]

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) represent approximately 96% of all enterprises within Southeast Asia, contribute 30% to 50% of GDP and employ between 50% to 85% of each country’s population in ASEAN. A large number of SME models inherently create demonstrable social and environmental impact beyond livelihood creation, in sectors such as agriculture, clean energy, education, healthcare, water and sanitation, among others.

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Impact Exits Provide Healthy Returns And Stay On Mission

Impact investing funds seeking market rates perform about as well as traditional counterparts. Plus the mission tends to stay intact post exit.

But it’s not a bad idea for funds to hold companies until they reach a large enough size to dictate the terms of their exits or become acquirers themselves.

Those are some of the conclusions of a recently published study of 52 fund exits conducted by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII), Skopos Impact Fund and the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA).

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Driving Impact Investing Among Family Offices

The United Nations tabled a resolution in September 2015 to achieve the following Sustainable Development Goals by 2030: “to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.”

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Redefining Capitalism: Equipping Corporates to Enhance Their Impact

Free-market capitalism has been one of the most powerful approaches to accelerate economic progress ever conceived, but ever since the 2008 financial crisis, its perception and its role in society have been distorted. Conscious capitalism seeks to redefine the dominant narrative of ‘business as usual’ to allow corporations to pivot to a role as holistic value creators. Conducting business as a “conscious business” is moving beyond just setting up a foundation, funding local community programs or adhering to responsible investment guidelines.

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Sharing is Caring – How to Share Your Investment Opportunity with Others

In early 2013, Hardika Shah, Founder and CEO of Kinara Capital, an Indian Social Enterprise, aimed at addressing the debt gap between microfinance and commercial capital was looking to raise Series A funding of US$1million. While they had already secured lead commitments from two US-based impact investing funds, the Social Enterprise needed help in locating additional investors to meet its full fundraising goal.

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In conversation with Mr. Sateesh Andra, managing partner at Ventureast

Sateesh Andra is a Managing Partner at Ventureast, primarily overseeing the Ventureast Tenet Fund, a premier seed-stage VC Fund consisting of investments across technology (Mobility, Cloud, Internet) and technology-enabled (Education, Healthcare, Financial services, Cleantech and high-impact, invention- based social businesses) sectors. He has worked in or with venture-backed technology start-ups in U.S/ India for the past fourteen years. With hands-on start-up experience and in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of VC funding, he looks for highly motivated and energetic entrepreneurs to partner with.

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The Humanity Bond: A Life-Saving Game Changer for All

Imagine for a moment that if institutions like CARE, the UN gender office or the Clinton Global Initiative had five times the amount of program funding available today. What would the world look like?

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