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30 May SEAF in Forbes: Sorting Out Impact Investing In A Changing Market
SEAF’s Bob Webster was interviewed for an article on Forbes.com about SEAF’s role in the growing Impact Investing space. The article touched on topics including investing in emerging markets, selecting businesses for investments, the tradeoffs faced in impact investing, and challenges in the space. Interviewed by Christopher Skroupa, Bob provided a unique view into an investment field poised for growth in the coming years.
Christopher P. Skroupa: How do you define impact investing? Why is impact investing so important for emerging markets?
Robert Webster: Impact investors seek both financial returns along with social and environmental impact. For SEAF, that means targeting commercial financial returns and a tripling of impact that we can clearly project and measure post-investment. To achieve this level of impact, the impact must be inherent in the business model, meaning that as they sustainably scale on a financial and operational basis, the expected impact scales right along with the business scaling.
Impact investing is so important for emerging and frontier markets because the social and environmental needs are so great. Fully developed markets also have needs, of course, but the gaps can be much greater in other markets given the lack of local capital, particularly risk capital, for private sector solutions, and government and donor funding for the provisions of services in health and education, which are traditionally provided by the public sector. For example, SEAF is now evaluating an expansion investment opportunity in Southeast Asia in an OB/GYN facility, which if completed, should result in significant impact in three areas: the provision of quality OB/GYN services, jobs for female nurses and health technicians, and an upgrade in its health practitioners’ knowledge and skills through the company’s onboarding training program. The expected impact, which would not otherwise be realized, would be significant for the “third tier” city in which the new facility would be located.
The full article can be found here.
SEAF is an SEC-registered impact investment fund manager, investing risk capital and providing business support to growth-oriented companies in frontier and emerging markets. Founded in 1989, SEAF seeks to deliver both financial returns and positive social impact for investors. SEAF has managed over 35 investment funds and vehicles across 27 countries since its founding. SEAF also operates the Centers for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development – CEED – an entrepreneur-focused network that provides advisory, mentoring, and networking opportunities across 13 global locations. seaf.com and ceed-global.org.