These investors and entrepreneurs are channelling the power of money toward underserved communities and innovative solutions

These investment leaders from Asia’s Most Influential list are making money more meaningful by channelling its power toward underserved communities and innovative solutions. By embedding positive social and environmental impact in investment, they’re making it more democratic and socially responsible. The net effect—apart from returns—is a financial system that results in better lives and brighter futures.

Durreen Shahnaz, Singapore

Professor Durreen Shahnaz founded Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) to harness the power of the financial system toward nurturing businesses that value women, underserved communities and the environment. Now, IIX helps impact enterprises scale up to achieve its big-picture goal of a billion sustainable livelihoods by 2030.

It recently announced Meraki Agro, the sustainable agriculture business from Indonesia, as the winner of its Impact Partners PitchFest 2022 in the APAC region. Impact Partners, one of IIX’s three investment platforms, awards over US$100,000 in capital to, as Shahnaz describes, “enterprises who aim to generate positive social or environmental impact in their communities”. IIX also offers Impact Exchange, the world’s first social stock exchange, and Impact Accelerator, which is designed to support early-stage social enterprises in South and Southeast Asia. 

Read Durreen Shahnaz’s full profile here.

Tunku Danny Nasaifuddin Mudzaffar, Malaysia

“[A]fter 12 years as a banker, I wanted something more. The next step for me when I came back to Malaysia was to use my experience in something that would impact people’s lives for the better,” Tunku Danny Nasaifuddin Mudzaffar told Tatler. In 2019, he founded fintech company MicroLeap to serve mom-and-pop shops, roadside store owners and other smaller-scale operations. Last year, the platform helped over 70 micro-businesses with capital from 2,000 investors. 

These MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) are often rejected by traditional banks, but with the platform’s peer-to-peer financing, they are connected to alternative investors. The goal is financial inclusion for all Malaysians, including investors at MicroLeap, who can start their financial journey with just RM50 (around US$11). Last month, the company announced its partnership with logistics company TheLorry, which also supports local SMEs.    

Read Tunku Danny Nasaifuddin Mudzaffar’s full profile here.

Catherine Chen, Hong Kong

Impact investor Catherine Chen founded the AvantFaire Group, which offers direct investments, asset management and blended financing that focuses on projects in the Green, Economic and Decarbonization (GED) development and innovative technologies, among others. These include the application of space technology or Big Earth Data to monitor and manage water, clean energy and sustainable cities, as well as a virtual power plant that can optimize the energy costs of solar power plants and wind farms. 

Chen has been a longtime advocate of impact investment, carbon neutrality and Sustainable Development Goals. She has investment experience in smart buildings, city planning and sustainable supply chains in the food and fashion industries. In March, the CEO will be a speaker at the Private Wealth Network Family Congress 2022, which will explore the post-Covid renaissance.

Read Catherine Chen’s full profile here.

Discover the changemakers, industry titans and powerful individuals who are making a positive impact on the region in the Asia’s Most Influential list from Tatler.

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