<Title of session> How to set up venture philanthropy in Asia <Date and time of session> Thursday 15
May 2014 Session reporter: Tu Ngo Summary of the content of the session: Speakers:
Ken Ito, Todd Stevens, Kim Sophastienphong Todd Stevens from CEDF presented his work on conservation, especially how conservation is about
changing people’s behaviors. His organization was founded on the premise that it should not rely on
grants and programs, but on how to transform the organization into sustainable businesses. For example, with ibis Cambodia, CEDF worked on supply chain strategy and helped find new markets for impact investors. Kim Sophastienphong from Oxfam presented Oxfam enterprise projects with the agriculture sector. She sees the trend of increased decision-making from women who used to be more left out. She also sees increase in income and sales. Oxfam offers business grants, loan and project grants. For example, they invest in a chili enterprise in Bangladesh or a Dairy enterprise in Sri Lanka. From pre-validation to building successful business takes 7-10 years and hence Kim emphasized the need for a long-term view. On advice, she recommended identifying good partners, diversification especially to companies with a large base of customers, focus on key investable countries instead of spreading resources thin across many markets, run decisions based on metrics and data. Both speakers commented that investors make strategic decisions of returns vs. risks. The key lies in creating blended value to investors depending on the needs and availability of the financial/investment tools. You also have to make sure that money is tricked down passing through the intermediaries. The impact investment sector opens up new opportunities and may affect the pipeline for grants; however Kim Sophastienphong commented that there is still a need for the missing middle which Oxfam is targeting
these are not large enough for impact investors and yet are not small for traditional grants as they are now seeking for growth strategy. On evaluating
projects, Kim mentions asking especially women for answers as they don’t
typically volunteer to answer your questions. They also use reports to then replicate the successful models.
Major conclusions of the session:
While there are variations in how funds are set up, the common theme lies in the need to focus on scaling organizations using business concepts.
Feedback/Take-Aways for AVPN: