Launch of AVPN Impact Investment Series: Making a Start in Impact Investment


February 22, 2018

4 min read
  • Garden Impact Investments’ extensive focus in South East Asia has positioned them as a key thought leader in the impact investment field
  • Glean key insights learnt from the first seminar in Hong Kong
  • Participate in the AVPN Impact Investment Series to be equipped with knowledge and practical tools to get started.

The AVPN Impact Investment Series in Hong Kong kicked off to a lively start on 30 Jan 2017 with a full house. The first of this series welcomed Mason Tan, experienced impact investor and founder of Garden Impact Investments from Singapore.

Background of Garden Impact Investments

Founded in 2013, Garden Impact Investments has to date made 10 investments in South East Asia.  They invest in a broad range of sectors.  Garden Impact currently has US$4.5 million assets under management across 2 funds and is in the process of launching a 3rd fund.  Their investor base primarily consists of high net worth individuals.

With a focus on financial and social impact measurement, Garden Impact provides expansion capital to enterprises that create sustainable jobs for the poor and the marginalized.  The typical investment size is US$0.5 million and can be in the form of debt or equity.

Due to Mason’s growing awareness of and concern for the widening income inequality that causes social unrest and religious extremism, he was called to impact investments.  He believes that the young generation has grown to prioritize the world and its communities over profit.

The AVPN Impact Investment Series

In this seminar, Mason shared his investment process and insights, bringing these to life by presenting success stories and challenges in Garden Impact’s portfolio. Participants were also able to test their new knowledge by working in teams to evaluate real life case studies.  Lively discussion covered topics ranging from developing vs. developed market investments, intellectual property, technology, social impact reporting standards, and corruption management.

The AVPN Impact Investment series seeks to equip new social investors with knowledge and practical tools to get started in impact investment. The training series is divided into 4 modules, and participants who complete all of them will be provided with an AVPN certificate of completion. To participate or enquire, please contact us at

Key Lessons Learnt from the Seminar

For those of you that may also be interested in making a start in impact investing, here are some tips Mason shared:

  • Focus on 1 area you are most passionate about.
  • Start Small: there is a big funding gap for social entrepreneurs seeking funding from US$100,000 to US$1 million so this is where there are opportunities.
  • Be very patient, the investment horizon can be 7 to 10 years. For impact investments, the return curve is not V shaped, U shaped, but reverse L shaped.
  • Increase deal flow by making yourself known in the social entrepreneur market – attend and speak at events, be a mentor/judge but also be wary of poster boy deals.
  • Screen deals by looking for the three ‘S’: scalability, sustainability and social impact metrics
  • Shared Values – for Mason, the most important question to ask the entrepreneur is: “Do we have shared values?”
  • Keep to a simple investment structure as many social entrepreneurs will be hesitant if the deal is too complicated.
  • Active management and monitoring: negotiate for a board seat and expenditure control or influence. Actively engage with the entrepreneur during the investment period to coach them and to avoid surprises.

To join us at the next AVPN Impact Investment Series seminar, write to us at

About Author
Keilem Ng
Keilem Ng Director - Hong Kong AVPN

Keilem joined the investment industry in 2004 and has worked in New York, Shanghai and Hong Kong covering global markets. Prior to joining AVPN, Keilem was an Executive Director at JPMorgan Asset Management responsible for real asset acquisitions and asset management throughout Asia Pacific. Keilem holds a BA in Architecture from Yale University and a MS in Real Estate from New York University.

Keilem grew up in Hong Kong and loves nature and the great outdoors. In 2012 she founded Eco Marine, a not for profit organization that promotes local marine and environmental awareness and aims to connect Hong Kong people and businesses with nature. Keilem is also an avid trail runner and is the founder of Hong Kong Trail Running Women.