HK+Acumen Impact Investing Forum

“There is a yearning in Hong Kong to make an impact that extends beyond ourselves” – Christina Tang, graduated Acumen fellow and founder of Blue Sky 

Impact Investing is a nascent concept in Hong Kong, with a wide definition and a growing community. HK+Acumen is the volunteering chapter supporting the mission of Acumen to invest in companies, leaders and ideas to change the way the world tackles poverty. On May 9th, a sunny Saturday afternoon, HK+Acumen, in partnership with Giinseng, hosted Hong Kong’s first impact investing forum to share knowledge on what impact investing is and how to get involved. With over 100 people in attendance, it was an inspiring and thought-provoking afternoon.

By hearing about the experiences of a diverse group of professionals who have worked extensively in the region, we learned firsthand about some challenges and opportunities of budding social entrepreneurs and impact investors in Hong Kong. 

One major theme of discussion was the sustainability of an organization, and how to hold social enterprises accountable not only to their social impact but their financial performance as well.  Yvonne Li, founder of ICAIA and Avantage Ventures, stressed the importance of building impact measurements in the process of starting a social enterprise, while Samar Shaheryar, founder of Baby Hero shared the necessity of using research and data to demonstrate the viability of a solution to a social issue.  Doris Leung, founder of Diamond Cab shared her experience with founding the company to serve and mobilize people with disabilities. In her sharing, she stressed the need of taking the time to really understand a social problem and to explore the complexities that plague many social issues before crafting a solution to the issue.

Another theme of the afternoon was how to get involved in impact investing and learn more about the field and opportunities.  A majority of the speakers shared that they transitioned from careers in banking, journalism and other industries into social entrepreneurs or impact investors, and that the transition did not happen overnight.  It involved long periods of intentional networking and extensive research to equip themselves with the knowledge and networks to be able to succeed.

If you are interested in learning more about impact investing or social entrepreneurship, we recommend you check out the growing community of events, workshops and conferences in Hong Kong.  With great organizations like Unltd HK, Good Lab, SOW Asia, Giinseng, SVHK etc, there is no better time than now to get involved – whether that means starting a project on the side or volunteering for an existing project, there are plenty of ways to get connected and to start making a difference!

– Lincoln Cheung