5 Insights on Social Investment in Asia


Amanda Kee



The Social Investment Landscape Report is a resource for social investors assessing opportunities for collaborations, and maximising impact in new markets or initiatives. The Knowledge Centre Team profiled 14 Asian social economies spanning North, South, and Southeast Asia before presenting key societal needs, existing initiatives and prominent players in the ecosystem for each social economy.

SDGs’ Cohesive Framework Addresses Diverse Set of Challenges

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlighted the scale and urgency of socio-environmental-economic issues globally as well as nationally.

Social Economies Exist on a Scale from Nascent to Mature

The stage of growth of the social economy is characterised by the presence, contribution, and maturity of all actors in the ecosystem – government, SPOs, social investors and enablers.

Insight 1: Highly Engaged Social Investment is Critical to a Flourishing Social Economy

  • Most of the 14 social economies are experiencing early-to-mid stages of social enterprise growth where viable pipelines are small and deal volumes are low.
  • International investors, development agencies and local investors are actively supporting the development of SEs in Asia.
  • There is a growing trend in more localised funds which work with those closer to the root of the problem to create social impact.

Insight 2: Governments Play One of the Largest and Widest-reaching Roles in the Social Economy

  • South Korea is the only East Asian country that legally recognises SEs and offers multiple incentives to SEs as well as ecosystem-building support
  • Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines have put in place progressive policies, CSR mandates, dedicated offices for promoting social entrepreneurship, seed funds and capacity building

Insight 3: Trendsetters are Emerging from Historically Religious Roots

  • There is a growing movement towards social investing among HNWIs and family offices, embedded in the region’s tradition of religious giving.
  • Countries with a legacy of wealth such as Singapore and Hong Kong see family foundations taking a more prominent role in strategic philanthropy.
  • Responsible investment that incorporates ESG factors is growing as a strong mainstream market force for impact.

Insight 4: Corporates’ Potential in the Social Economy is Yet to be Realised

  • While CSR is ubiquitous in all 14 regions, the integration of CSR with business towards shared value is less common.
  • Largely, MNCs are driving CSR best practices in less mature economies, but increasing local firms are seeing adoption.
  • Corporates in advanced economies such as Japan and South Korea have established venture philanthropy and impact funds.

Insight 5: Intermediaries & Partnerships Move Social Economies Forward

  • Intermediaries play the key roles of building capacity of SPOs, promoting cross-sector collaborations and forging partnerships.
  • While international organisations such as the British Council, Ashoka and USAID have played substantia roles in triggering the SE movements in the studied 14 regions, local players have helped sustain and grow the ecosystem with their contributions.
  • Partnerships bring together diverse stakeholders for collective impact, e.g. giving circles, pooled-in CSR capital, SE funds, Collective Impact Initiatives.

Building a High-Impact Social Ecosystem Requires 5 Elements


For the full Report, please download it here.


A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training


Amanda Kee

Amanda is Senior Marketing Associate at AVPN. She graduated from National University of Singapore, University Scholars Program, with a Bachelor of Arts Honors in English Literature.

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