<Title of session> How to set up venture philanthropy in Asia

<Date and time of session> Thursday 15
th
May 2014
Session reporter: Tu Ngo

Summary of the content of the session:
Speakers: Ken Ito, Tomoya Shiraishi, Andrew Muirhead
The speakers presented different models for venture philanthropy, from Scotland to Japan, the
psychology behind why funders give money and how to bridge the mutual expectations and
understanding between organizations and funders.

Andrew Muirhead from AVPN gave a presentation on how short-term funding makes entrepreneurs
focus on fundraising and not their core work. His current work is also a hybrid model inspired by
new philanthropy capital in London and social ventures in Australia. He emphasized that
government support, human capital, venture collaboration is a must, as well as a comfort for failure.
To set up funds, he would ask funders to have a 10-year plan with exit strategy and built-in revenue
streams. On the reason why funders give money, he cited the benefit for leverage, shared cost and
high engagement.

Tomoya Shiraishi presented about Social Investments Partners genesis from his group of investment
professionals inspired by post-earthquake and unable to find where to send money. SIP was set up
so that they can invest in social entrepreneurs with business skills. He also emphasized that in Asia,
it’s not that there’s no culture of philanthropy but more of a systemic problem of the lack of
effective philanthropy donation and investment channels. With SIP, he brings investors close to
social entrepreneurs. There ought to be mutual respects although according to regulations,
companies would have to pay penalty if they cannot meet the targets set out by investors.

On advice on how to set up the fund, he suggested targeting the right donors who will be paying for
services. He would also do careful due diligence on business plan and the social entrepreneurs just
like with the rigorous approach in private equity investment with pre-screening to have 25-30
candidates for multiple interviews, then select one.

Both Muirhead and Shiraishi advised the audience to have similar language with the investors
especially around business concepts. They also agreed with the audience that there are certain
types of projects that might not bring returns such as with disaster relief.

Major conclusions of the session:
- There is a need to gap the expectations between donors, investors and the social entrepreneurs.
The importance lies in common language, mutual respect and understanding of rigorous steps it
takes to deliver social returns.


Feedback/Take-Aways for AVPN:
- Some attendants in the audience seem not to be too familiar with the business concepts used by
current venture philanthropy funds. The panel’s key takeaway emphasizes this need to bring
investors closer to social entrepreneurs. In the future, AVPN could consider such workshops on
business skills for organizations led by investment partners and experienced social
entrepreneurs/entrepreneurs.

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