Inspiring the Paradigm Shift

Jul 13, 2016

From left to right: Artak Melkonyan, Senior Advisor, UNDP Armenia; Hans Wahl, Director, Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, INSEAD; Felix Stähli, Co-founder, ImpactHub Geneva; Christopher Greenwood, Head of Philanthropy Unit, International Committee of the Red Cross; Katherine Milligan, Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at World Economic Forum

Social Entrepreneurship & Impact Investments in International Development Organisations

A breakthrough discussion on the role of Social Entrepreneurship & Impact Investments for International Development Organisations was held on 13 July in Geneva. Presenters Prof. Hans Wahl from INSEAD, Katherine Milligan from Schwab Foundation and Artak Melkonyan from UNDP, elaborated on significance of impact investments and inclusive and accessible for all social entrepreneurship for developing economies, approaches the development organisations choose to support them and upcoming dedicated conference in March 2017 invited by UNDP and INSEAD in Yerevan, Armenia.

In the session, participants discussed role of Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investments in the mission of International Development Organizations (IDOs). Traditional development approaches are facing significant challenges and limits in addressing their goals. Engaging private sector and market-based initiatives could be more effective through the use of social entrepreneurship and impact investment principles. Development sector players have tried to  address social entrepreneurship trends in various modes and scales – from sponsoring discreet events and projects, to more advance systematic interventions such as  setting-up and supporting social innovation incubators,  supporting  social impact “buyer” roles of  governments or even introducing and  expanding blended finance instruments to cater Islamic finance principles. The interest is reciprocal - impact investors increasingly consider IDOs’ global networks and local presence and involvement as important factors to mitigate risks of SE projects and expend their ultimate impact.

UNDP with INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, are planning a dedicated global conference on these topics and, in anticipation, invited relevant stakeholders (IDOs, social entrepreneurs, impact investors, etc.) to become partners and contribute to organizing this breakthrough convention planned in several months from now.  

The meeting was supported by Rianta Capital Zurich and hosted at ImpactHub Geneva. Its members, impact investors from private foundations and banks, as well as representatives of development organisations (WWF, ICRC, UNDP, UNCTAD, etc.) attended the event.

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