Japan-based Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) has committed to invest in Beacon Fund, a gender lens investing fund focusing on Southeast Asia.
Beacon Fund, seeded by impact investor Patamar Capital, with Vulpes Investment Management as Singapore fund management partner, has raised almost half of its initial target of $50 million, Beacon Fund said in a statement.
Earlier in September last year when the fund was launched, it said it had attracted a high net worth woman as an anchor investor, and received support from Investing in Women, an initiative by the Australian Government, and USAID INVEST.
Beacon Fund uses an evergreen structure and initially focuses on debt products, with an aim to generate steady cash-flows and long-term capital appreciation.
The fund will provide investments in the range of $500,000 to $2 million.
The sectors which have a high concentration of businesses fitting Beacon’s target profile include agri-businesses, education and healthcare businesses and services businesses such as marketing, design and HR. Geographically, the fund focuses on Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
There is a “missing middle” in financing for female-led and female-focused businesses, as they have been overlooked by traditional sources of funding, Beacon Fund said in its statement.
“While the topic of gender equality is often interpreted and discussed in the context of women’s empowerment, at its core, gender equality is an issue that effects all of us. We need to consider equality, inclusivity, diversity and intersectionality on all dimensions and ensure all members of society have opportunities to prosper and thrive,” added Itsu Adachi, executive director of SPF.
Gender lens investing “plays in contributing to the economic development of the region”, he said.
In 2017, SPF formed the Asia Women Impact Fund (AWIF), which aims to invest up to $100 million from its endowment to support women-led businesses.
In 2019, AWIF committed up to $30 million in JAPAN ASEAN Women Empowerment Fund, a microfinance investment fund managed by global impact investment manager BlueOrchard Finance Ltd.