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Global Innovation Fund targets Indo-Pacific region in search for new social impact investments

By Alix Peterson Zwane, CEO  |   Posted 30th June 2022

I am pleased to announce that GIF is establishing a new office in Singapore to grow and service our portfolio of social investments. It’s a move which demonstrates our commitment to back Indo-Pacific innovators with exciting ideas for change, and support them on their pathway to impact at scale.

Our new Singapore office will ensure we are part of the vibrant innovation ecosystem in the Indo-Pacific region, making us more accessible to entrepreneurs. GIF makes grant, equity, and debt investments to support a range of innovators across the globe to accelerate the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of evidence-based and market-tested innovations.
The gap we seek to fill is that space before an innovator is ready to seek big money – when risk is high, and the promise of social value is at least as enticing as the potential for financial returns. We look for market-based solutions to market failures, in pursuit of social return.

Engagement with local partners is a key component of GIF’s investment criteria and the Indo-Pacific has been a focus region for the team since 2016. Our portfolio already includes investments such as SwipeRx which is growing a digital network of pharmacies and provides patients with discounts and health advice, in return for collecting prescription data, similar to existing products in higher income countries. GIF is also an investor in OnlinePajak which offers Indonesian enterprises and individuals free tax-filing software to prepare, pay, and file their taxes, generating revenue from selling its user base value-added services.

Our Singapore office will be led by Katie Carrasco, who is also GIF’s Head of Environmental, Social responsibility and Governance (ESG) and Gender Co-Lead. Katie will be an excellent ambassador for us in the region and we warmly congratulate her on taking on this new challenge. She is well-placed to support our partners with local expertise and presence and, of course, help us find and fund great innovations with potential for big social returns.

According to an Economist Impact report, supported by AVPN, social investment, defined as capital that aims to create or amplify social impact alongside potential financial returns, can be utilised to achieve the common goal of contributing to sustainable development.

Substantial funding gaps exist across multiple SDGs, particularly for the SDGs on food security, health, energy, water and sanitation, and climate action. A multitude of actors like philanthropic foundations, corporations, financial institutions, impact funds, intermediaries and impact organisations such as non-profits and social enterprises can help bridge this investment gap.

GIF recognises the value of identifying locally-based, creative solutions. We intend to play a bigger role in driving innovation at scale for underserved populations, and to continue our strategic partnerships with local innovators, investors, and governments.