IIX launches Livelihood Bond, aims to improve lives of half a million women

Visual image from IIX, July 2015

Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) announced a Women’s Livelihood Bond, due to be launched in early 2016, as part of its commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative.

IIX is a Singapore-based social enterprises (SE) investor that facilitates social enterprises accessing financial capital, allowing them to expand more rapidly.

It currently offers three investment platforms: Impact Accelerator, Impact Partners and Impact Exchange. Impact Accelerator provides seed-stage social ventures with mentorship and private capital. Impact Partners connects accredited impact investors to selected growth-stage SEs raising investment capital.

Impact Exchange function as a regulated social stock exchange operated by the Stock Exchange of Mauritius in collaboration with IIX. The exchange lists and trades securities issued by mature social ventures. To date, IIX claims to have facilitated more than S$11 million of investment, with nearly $19.5 million in ‘social value’ generated.

The Women’s Livelihood Bond is the first of IIX’s Sustainability Bonds – a series of replicable innovative financial instruments that mobilise private capital for social venture development – set to raise S$20 million in capital for a pool of underlying issuers. These issuers are social enterprises and microfinance institutions (MFIs) focused on empowering women.

The bonds are meant to enable high-impact social enterprises and MFIs to scale their operations and magnify their impact on women across Asia. This is achieved by providing them with increased access to skills, capital, market linkages and natural resources.

Durreen Shahnaz, founder of IIX and Shujog explained: “Women are critical stakeholders in equitable and sustainable development and yet, current funding channels fall tragically short of supporting women to achieve development goals in a large-scale way.”

Also Read: DBS & NUS to disburse $112k of grants to social ventures

Shahnaz added, “IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond represents a bold step in changing this; it is designed to empower over half a million women and their families in the most vulnerable communities in Asia, to shift from subsistence living towards sustainable and resilient livelihoods.”

The programme is supported by key partners, such as The Rockefeller FoundationJapan Research InstituteCenter for High Impact Philanthropy of the University of Pennsylvania, and Shearman and Sterling LLP, with the Women’s Livelihood Bond en route to being listed on the Impact Exchange.

Through IIX, a pipeline of potential borrowers with proven track record of positive impact on women’s lives, clear intention to scale, capital requirements, and viable bond-repayment avenues, are currently being lined. Thus, this bond will pool together a group of issuers and diversify the risk-return structure of the bond, in effect ensuring repayment of the bond and the social impact deliverables.

Concurrently,  IIX’s sister company Shujog, will also be applying its tailored, bottom-up approach in measuring impact to ensure that demonstrable social outcomes are achieved.

Shujog and the Rockefeller Foundation will develop a blueprint paper of the Women’s Livelihood Bond, to capture the entire mechanism of the bond, from design to issuance on the Impact Exchange. It is hoped that by sharing the blueprint openly, IIX can enable uptake and replication of their financial instrument and accelerate the uptake of private capital for developmental purposes in the social enterprise and microfinance sphere.

“We believe that IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond is a very promising innovation with the potential of unlocking large amounts of new capital for sustainable development, and The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support this work as part of its Zero Gap effort,” said Saadia Madsbjerg, managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation.

Madsbjerg added, “We are excited to share the blueprint paper and look forward to the possibilities that this could open up for mobilizing capital for social good.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.