11 March 2020 | News/Stories

Gender lens investing takes centre stage at the AVPN South East Asia Summit

With the goal of addressing pertinent gender, social, and environmental challenges affecting the region, over 350 representatives from the finance sector, government agencies and the philanthropic community gathered on 12 to 14 February in Bali for the AVPN South East Asia Summit.

The Summit was organised by the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), a capacity builder, advocate and platform committed to building a vibrant and high impact social investment community across Asia.

As a partner of Investing in Women (IW), the AVPN is raising awareness of gender lens investing (GLI)—the practice of using capital to advance gender equality as well as generate financial returns—within the impact investment community in South East Asia. GLI took centre stage in a number of activities during the Summit.

IW Partners Workshop

Investing in Women organised a workshop for its impact investing partners, wherein participants  reflected on IW’s collective achievements in the first phase of the program and explored ways to consolidate learnings into the second phase.

Representatives from  IW impact investing partners Patamar Capital, Capital for Development Partners, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds and Manila Angels Investors Network; industry partners AVPN, Gender-Smart Investing Summit and Impact Investing Summit; Biduk Project implementing partner Athena Global Alliance; and Value for Women attended the workshop on the first day of the Summit.

The IW Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team highlighted the increase in the number of impact investments that have gone into women’s SMEs through IW. A peer learning session led by the MEL team enabled participants to reflect on  the importance of building working examples to scale the field of GLI; design products to suit the needs of women entrepreneurs and align them with the risk profiles of the capital providers; and the need to get more anchor investors for seeding GLI funds in the region.

Gender Lens Investing Workshop

Over 60 participants attended Impact Investing and GLI: What it is, why do it, and the different ways to invest with a gender lens, a workshop conducted by Value for Women. The workshop covered key concepts of gender and GLI and provided insights, as well as case studies, on applying a gender lens throughout an organisation’s investment process. Suzanne Biegel, Catalyst at Large Founder and Co-Producer of the Gender Smart Investing Summit; and Shuyin Tang, Partner at Patamar Capital; shared examples of the practical application of integrating a gender lens into investment funds.

GLIA Toolkit launch, plenary and breakout sessions

Sasakawa Peace Foundation President Shuichi Ohno opened the second day of the Summit with the launch of the Gender Lens Incubation and Acceleration (GLIA) Toolkit.

The GLIA Toolkit was designed to help entrepreneurship support organisations in South East Asia develop their gender strategies with practical guidelines, case studies and frameworks for applying a gender lens.

Investing in Women CEO Julia Newton-Howes; Ayala Foundation President Ruel Maranan; YCAB Foundation CEO Veronica Colondam;  Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, Senior Advisor to the Minister of National Development Planning for Economy and Financing at Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning; and Stephanie Kimber, Assistant Director of Innovation Xchange at Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade joined a panel discussion on the development stages, unmet social and economic needs and potential of South East Asia in impact investing.

Panellists discussed investing with impact capital to address complex issues towards achieving gender equality, as well as the power of collective action and areas of collaboration in dramatically changing the trajectory of socio-economic development in the region. The discussion was moderated by AVPN Chair Naina Subberwal Batra.

On the same day, Biegel led a breakout session with impact investors—each with a different strategy and approach to generating financial and impact returns and gender-smart investing.

Joining the session were Arun Asok, Fund Manager and Head of Asia at Bamboo Capital Partners; Teja Ventures Founding Partner Virginia Tan; and Patamar Capital’s Shuyin Tang; who stressed the need to consider various gender lens investment models based on market demand and to redefine financial systems. Gender as an analysis category in investment decision making when creating a financially sound business case was also discussed.

Another speaker, Development Finance Corporation Managing Director Geoffrey Tan, discussed the need for creative incentive structures in investments where expected returns could be subsidised for gender impact targets.

Staying faithful to the theme “Leveraging the power of networks,” this year’s AVPN South East Asia Summit was an exemplary venue for networking, knowledge sharing and industry collaboration among impact investing leaders in the South East Asian region.

Catch highlights from the event in the video below. Best viewed in Google Chrome.

Learn more about gender lens investing. 

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