Who Gets the Returns: A Global Journey in Catalytic Capital


Globally, we face significant development challenges such as climate change, gender inequality, inequitable access to healthcare, and access to quality jobs. In this poly-crisis moment, the financing gap to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has widened to USD 4 trillion a year. Innovative financial tools and collaboration are required to meet this moment.

Catalytic capital, which accepts disproportionate risk and/or concessionary returns and enables third-party investment, has the potential to help close the gaps left by government and mainstream capital and generate impact that otherwise could not be achieved.

In the third part of the series of Global Webinars on Catalytic Capital, this conversation discussed the nuance of the partnerships between catalytic and commercial investors in deploying joint investments.

Catalytic capital plays a pivotal role in mobilising private investments toward sustainable development via blended transactions. However, a crucial question arises: “Who gets the returns?” This session delves into the complex landscape of return distribution in blended transactions, exploring how various stakeholders, including commercial investors and those deploying catalytic capital, share the benefits and profits.

Ashima Thomas
Director, Insights,

Ashima is Director of Insights at AVPN. She works with the research team to ensure that funders and resource providers have access to critical information when making strategic decisions about their philanthropy and social investment. Ashima is a multifaceted media specialist and entrepreneur who brings more than 20 years of experience to AVPN, having worked as a broadcast journalist, filmmaker, producer, trainer and content consultant and in a variety of mediums including print, audio, TV, film, virtual and augmented reality. During her career she has collaborated with dozens of social sector organisations of all sizes to understand their needs and amplify their stories. Ashima has an MA in Journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington and is a trained Co-Active Coach.
Oliver Pollard
Head of Enterprise Growth Funds,

Ollie is Head of Enterprise Growth Funds at Resonance, with primary responsibility for the expansion strategy for funds across the country and investor relationships.
Ollie re-joined Resonance in 2019, having been away to complete his MBA at Said Business School, Oxford. Prior to this he had led the firm’s market development work for the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West).
After undergraduate studies Ollie spent 9 years working in fixed income sales and trading at RBC Capital Markets, with responsibility for some of the banks largest credit clients. In 2015 he left The City and spent 18 months in Sri Lanka with his wife running an ethical tourism project on a tea plantation, and consulting for local social enterprises.
Stuart Thomson
Executive Director,
The Good Business Foundation

Stuart has an extensive career working within the for-purpose sector holding senior leadership positions with organisations such as World Vision, Oxfam and East Timor Hearts Fund. Stuart also played a leadership role in the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). He is also currently Chief of Staff – Office of the President at the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI). CACCI has members in over 25 countries within the Asia-Pacific region. CACCI has a global reach working with other chamber networks most particularly the World Chambers Federation.
Stuart has lived and worked in remote developing communities, and has been an observer to the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN). With his senior leadership experience and unique understanding of strategic approaches to solve social challenges, Stuart is well placed in taking on the challenge of being the inaugural Executive Director for The Good Business Foundation (GBF).
Aakif Merchant
Associate Director,

As an Associate Director at Convergence and is responsible for providing strategic advice and capacity building support to a range of clients from public, private to philanthropic organisations such as the Swedish International Development Agency, Ministry of Finance – Govt of Ethiopia and UNDP amongst others. He has worked on blended finance policy and transactions across a range of geographies from Indonesia to Colombia. Prior to joining Convergence, Aakif was a management consultant having worked at LEK Consulting, Dasra & NeXus Consulting Group. Aakif holds an M.B.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from The George Washington University in Washington D.C.


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

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