Philanthropy & Charity

Durreen Shahnaz

Entrepreneur and impact investor Prof Durreen Shahnaz created the world’s first social stock exchange


Prof Durreen Shahnaz sold her first internet company, the New York-based oneNest, an online global marketplace for hand-made goods, in 1999, when e-commerce was still in its infancy. A decade later, while she was teaching social innovation and entrepreneurship at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, she was invited by The Rockefeller Foundation to a gathering in Italy—an event that motivated her to take up impact investing as a career.

In 2009, Prof Shahnaz launched the world’s first social stock exchange, the Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), connecting investment to development and unlocking millions of dollars for high-impact enterprises. Its sister entity IIX Foundation creates opportunities for blended capital to leverage philanthropy funding to unlock investment capital.

Prof Shahnaz, who grew up in Bangladesh and the Philippines, attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and started her career on Wall Street.

For Shahnaz’ entrepreneurial spirit, as well as for making an impact in the social capital market in Asia, she was awarded the Joseph Wharton Social Impact Award, Asia Society’s Asia Game Changer Award and the Oslo Business for Peace Award.

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Did you know?

She was the first Bangladeshi woman to work on Wall Street, as well as to attend the Wharton School of Business. 

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