At a Glance
Asia accounts for 60% of the world’s population, 50% of the global economy and 16% of global impact investing funds deployed
There are more than 1.3 million social enterprises in six economies (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan) and more than 3.5 million including India and China.
Governments in the six economies spent more than US$100 million on social enterprise start-ups and US$900,000 for startups of all kinds in 2019.
Given these numbers, why is Asia punching below its weight in funds spent and turning out numerous successful social enterprises? This study provides ample evidence of trends across the region, gaps to fill and the means to realize the great potential Asia has to offer.
Our study bridges the gap between what social enterprises need and how to help them, with data-driven evidence. Here are our topline findings.
of surveyed social enterprises consider grants the most preferred type of early-stage funding.
Among social enterprises that receive grants, social enterprises at the very early stage build most of their budget from grants, with dependence waning as they mature and learn to stand on their own feet.
Grants also prepare social enterprises for receiving private investment. Several successful social enterprises we interviewed shared that early-stage grants allowed them to grow their valuation before reaching out to private investors.
Only 17% of social enterprises we surveyed received any impact investment over the last year.
Social enterprise find that the biggest barrier to attracting investment is the expectation of high financial returns.
One way to balance the twin interest of impact investors is to build a diverse portfolio of investments geared towards meeting their preference for total return: financial + social.
Survey respondents say the most desired qualities of a successful social enterprise team are creativity, productive networks, and the ability to adapt to change.
Asia is poised to bridge the talent gap by tapping into its vast pool of mature, young, female, and rural workers, as well as an increasing group of professionals seeking a more meaningful career aligned with their social values.
A buildout of social entrepreneurship education and an increase of institutions "lending" their talent to social enterprises is another positive trend.
Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society
The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) is a uniquely Asian, independent action-oriented research and advisory organization committed to maximizing private resources for doing good.