[RECAP] AVPN Conference 2019

07 July 2019


As one of the early members, ANGIN attended AVPN Conference 2019 in Singapore to continue to learn and network with key executives in social investment landscape, e.g. development agencies, social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and government agencies from around the globe.

The goal of the AVPN Conference 2019 is to ensure social investors are better equipped to champion and deploy capital more effectively into critical issues that matter most to them. Now in its seventh year, the AVPN Conference is Asia’s largest gathering of social investors who are seeking to move capital more effectively towards impact. This year’s theme is Breaking Boundaries. The event brought together notable regional players in social investment landscape to discuss different topics, with 291 speakers over 85 sessions and 1,212 delegates from 43 countries.

On 25-28th June in Singapore, ANGIN, represented by Saskia Tjokro (Head of Advisory) and Benedikta Atika (Impact Investment Lead), was glad to attend and to learn from various insightful sessions and network during this four-day event. The sessions ranged from discussing general landscape of impact investment to specific impact sectors (e.g. nutrition, education), for example The Basics of Blended Finance, Moving Capital Towards Proactive Disaster Solutions, and Solutions Journalism and the Importance of Storytelling.  shared our insights during the FGD session exclusive for impact investors in unlocking impact investment opportunities in Indonesia.

In addition to attending the sessions, we reconnected and engaged in inspiring discussion with key ecosystem players in the region, for example Bamboo Capital, Swisscontact, Ashoka, Social Value International, D3 Jubilee, Patamar Capital, Instellar Indonesia, PLUS, and Kitabisa. Furthermore, we met some corporations like Grab, Johnson & Johnson, and IBM who had contributed in creating impact through their activities. We also talked to inspiring entrepreneurs who pitched their innovative solutions, including our fellow Indonesian sociopreneurs: Diffago and Fishgo.

The unique combination of philanthropists, private sectors, government agencies and entrepreneurs sparked meaningful conversation in breaking the social investment boundaries.

Here are some of our key insights from the event:

  • Stakeholder engagement should be fluid and iterative

This point were raised in different discussions, from exploring solutions for disaster sector to impact management and measurement. Although it sounded obvious, this situation were still overlooked in impact investment practice. Many organizations used “top-down” approach: when the communication flow usually looked linear: capital providers/impact investors – board of committee – program managers – users (beneficiaries). Even worse, some cases exhibited the lack of context when the solutions are implemented by replicating what works in the other areas without communicating it well to the users (beneficiaries).

It is important to acknowledge the fluid conversation between stakeholders. Users (beneficiaries) have the right to ask and discuss with the capital providers and program managers, to ensure that the solution is what they need and understand how it works.

  • Entrepreneurs take role in collective impact

Entrepreneurs are invited to take part to achieve collective impact, benefiting their local context and agile operation to deliver the solutions. Unlike not-for-profit implementing partners, entrepreneurs also have better sustainability due to their market-based approach. They should work with big corporations and development agencies, who have been involved in channeling resources (human resources, capitals, and technology) to achieve the UN SDGs.

  • Disaster solutions: Prevention is (also) important

In one of the session, we discussed the irony in the disaster sector. There were only 1% of the global philanthropic funds allocated in disaster, and majority of them are used for the disaster relief. It was easier to measure (e.g. death tolls) and seemed more “impactful” as it came when the situation was at the rock bottom. We agreed that the more efforts are needed in the prevention stage, where few players are currently looking at.

  • Women empowerment: How to scale

It was interesting to see how mainstream businesses like Grab was brought together with philanthropic funders and mainstream finance organizations, like Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FWWB India, and SEWA Bharat. Conversation around women empowerment and gender equality were going further, not only how to include this value in their own model, but also how to scale the impact through their innovation in digital solutions and entrepreneurship.

  • Ongoing discussion: How to strengthen sustainable finance market in Asia

Together with other impact investors focusing in Asia, we learned and shared insights on the challenges and next steps to develop the impact investment landscape. Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN) and Oliver Wyman + Marsh & McLennan Insights began by discussing key findings on their recent report, followed by some exercise conducted by the participants.

We discussed around impact measurement and management, different trends in different Asia countries, and how the definition and label of “impact” affect the decision making process among capital providers. ANGIN also shared the importance to raise awareness in the early stage investment, to help channel capital in the impact investment landscape. The growth of social entrepreneurship in Indonesia requires strong support from the ecosystem players, including the capital providers.

ANGIN is grateful to reconnect with notable organizations in the social investment landscape in Asia. We look forward to more AVPN activities in the future and exploring collaboration in Asia’s social investment ecosystem.

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