20–22 June, 2023 | Place: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Reported by Mr. Achin Biyani and Ms. Aanchal Jain
Unpacking our thoughts from the recently held AVPN conference in Kuala Lumpur has been a process as complex as the architectural wonder that punctuate this city’s skyline. It’s a task that required not just due diligence but also thoughtful introspection, to do justice to the depth and breadth of knowledge exchanged. So, while our reflections may have taken a time to take shape, they echo the enduring essence of the Twin Towers, mirroring their depth, complexity, and unwavering commitment to excellence.
Drawing inspiration from the towering, interconnected presence of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Twin Towers, the conference laid emphasis on the power of collaboration. It underlined the necessity for varied stakeholders – investors, philanthropists, governments, and non-profit organizations – to unify their resources, skills, and networks in a collective pursuit of sustainable impact.
In parallel, just as the Twin Towers stand as testament to the passage of time and the rewards of patience, so too does the realm of social enterprises call for long-term capital and patient investment. These entities labor diligently to untangle the complex knots of societal issues, requiring enduring support to foster sustainable growth and engrave a lasting impact.
The conference explored innovative financing models akin to the architectural innovation of the towers. Blended finance, the confluence of philanthropic and investment capital, emerged as a promising solution to bridge the prevalent funding gaps. It can attract a wider range of investors to the impact investing field, diversifying the support base.
Building ecosystems that echo the supportive infrastructure of the towers was a pivotal point. They should enable social entrepreneurs by providing access to mentorship, capacity building, and networks, thereby empowering them to scale their ventures and propel positive change.
The conference further highlighted the cruciality of an inclusive approach in development efforts. Just as the Twin Towers are a focal point for all, ensuring gender inclusivity and community engagement guarantees that no voice is marginalized and that unique needs are addressed. This calls for a shift from a top-down to a more grounded, bottom-up approach.
Mirroring the Twin Towers’ partnership in shaping Kuala Lumpur’s skyline, the event underscored the potential of partnering with Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). These partnerships can mobilize resources, share expertise, and amplify impact in a coordinated fashion. The discussion branched out to encompass family offices, exploring strategies to engage them in impact investing. This exploration aimed at guiding them in aligning their investments with their values, ultimately fostering positive social and environmental outcomes.
Just as the Twin Towers are a blend of different elements contributing to their iconic stature, a variety of programs and organizations approach development from multiple angles, applying diverse funding methods, theories of change, and impact measurement strategies. The conference emphasized the need for robust impact measurement frameworks and standards to accurately assess and communicate the outcomes of development initiatives, mirroring the precision and clarity that defines Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.
Each takeaway from this conference is akin to a brick in an architectural masterpiece, essential to building an edifice of sustainable development and lasting impact. Like the Twin Towers, philanthropic capital should stand tall and strong, its influence casting long shadows over the expanding fields of social enterprises and impactful innovations.
The conference served as a reminder that philanthropy and impact investment are inseparably intertwined, much like the iconic Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur – separate entities, yet part of a singular vision. Just as these towers have redefined the skyline, our collective efforts can reshape the landscape of impact investing, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and leaving a lasting impact on societies around the globe.