Social Investing in Asia: What has Worked?


Alfred Poon


Measuring up to the 2013 AVPN Conference is no mean feat, but the AVPN team is outdoing last year’s conference with even more exciting panels, workshops and activities hosted by industry experts from all over the world. With about 80 international speakers confirmed and a day 3 added (check our website for latest updates!) for even more sector-specific content, this year’s conference promises to deliver even more impact and results.

Social investing is a relatively new concept in Asia, where funds for social missions have typically come in the form of philanthropic donations. As many new investors and philanthropists alike rush to welcome concepts like impact investing and venture philanthropy, it begs the question of what has actually worked so far in Asia.

To answer the question, the conference will focus on the three pillars of venture philanthropy –Financial, Human and Intellectual Capital. Throughout the first day, industry experts will expound on topics relating to these 3 pillars via parallel sessions. Examples include a breakout on “Blended-Value approaches”, which features speakers from WISE Philanthropy Advisors, Lien Centre for Social Investment, RS Group and SOW Asia.

Maurice_Machenbaum Maurice MachenbaumWISE Crystal-Hayling3 Crystal HaylingLien Centre for Social Innovation (LCSI)
annie-chen Annie ChenRS Group HONG KONG SOW Asia Scott LawsonSOW (Asia) Foundation

There are also many practical sessions for VP practitioners on fundraising techniques, building effective teams for venture philanthropy organisations, and on leveraging senior executives for corporate volunteering.

A fresh and exciting new component this year is our Investment Showcase on day 2 of the conference. We will be featuring a select group of exemplary investee organisations, including both social enterprises and non-profits, which have been carefully screened to be part of our programme. Aside from exhibiting their company’s profile and works at their individual stations at the showcase on level 6, they will also participate in a quick-fire dynamic pitching round hosted by the Hub Singapore, which culminates into a Best Pitch of the day prize.

Current organizations participating include Ecosoftt, Engage, Thriive, Playeum, Empact and Magic Bus, and cover a wide range of sectors from clean water and solar energy to children’s and women’s education. There are a few spaces still available for social enterprises (applications are subject to screening), so please contact us if you are interested.

Alongside the investment pitches, we will also be organising workshops that target the current hot topics in the venture philanthropy landscape, including impact measurement social franchising. One of the highlights is a workshop on “How to set up Venture Philanthropy Funds in Asia”, which will be moderated by AVPN’s Japan advisor, Ken Ito, and will feature VP funds from Social Investment Partners in Japan, Oxfam’s EDP fund, and Wildlife Conservation Society’s Conservation Enterprise Development Fund.

Tomoya-Shiraishi Tomoya ShiraishiSocial Investment Partners amit Amit VatsyayanOxfam GB Asia (TH)
Todd-Stevens Todd StevensWildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

The coming together of international experts from international foundations such as Shell Foundation, corporations such as HSBC and Salesforce as well as venture philanthropy organizations such as Social Venture Partners International, will help bring the spotlight on venture philanthropy in the region to Singapore. In many circumstances, modern problems need newer ways of implementing solutions as the social sector strives to discover innovations to society’s current issues. What better way to do this than a congregation of passionate industry experts and leaders to brainstorm the best solutions for Asia?AVPN’s 2014 Conference will be held between 14th and 16th May 2014 (Days 1 & 2 with main conference program, Day 3 for Private Events) at Singapore Management University with full information on www.avpn2014.com.


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


Alfred Poon

Business Development Officer

Alfred Poon is Director of Digital Transformation of AVPN. He is a geek by nature, adman by passion, and holds a Masters in Nonprofit Communications from Indiana University. Alfred spends his time building communications infrastructure that brings people together. Prior to joining AVPN, Alfred has consulted for Social Purpose Organisations in over thirty countries, bringing his unconventional mix of nimble technology to enable data driven communications

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