New Delhi: To stimulate India’s impact investment space, Social Finance Global Network and Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) has set up a non-profit impact intermediary, Social Finance India (SF-IND) that would incubate GSG’s twin impact funds, each estimated to reach up to $1 billion.
SF-IND will aim to build a corpus of outcome funds including the India Education Outcomes Fund, which seeks to improve the quality of K-12 (kindergarten through Class XII) education, and the India Impact Fund of Funds, which will look at other developmental programmes.
For scaling up its outcome focused funds, SF-IND will collaborate with governments, non-profits, for-profit impact enterprises, philanthropic foundations, and impact investors, and join the global network of Social Finance UK, Social Finance US, and Social Finance Israel to mobilise India’s investment capital for social change.
David Hutchison, chief executive, Social Finance UK, says the impact network would bring global knowledge, experiences and mindset into the country’s impact sector but would work on development of models that would take into account local dynamics and challenges. Hutchison, who will be the part of the advisory council for SF-IND, says India’s impact sector is now well understood to be a big market but the question remains as to how it could be taken to the next scale, and the biggest challenge remains the role of the government.
He says that while SF-IND’s projects will align with UN SDG’s they would not work as a framework for designing models. “The issue with SDGs is that they are too general, and you need to go to one level down to the next set of metrics at which point they become interesting," he notes.
The board of SF-IND will comprise Rajiv Lall, managing director and chief executive officer, IDFC Bank; Ashish Dhawan, founder and chairman, Central Square Foundation; and Vikram Gandhi, founder of Asha Impact and senior lecturer, Harvard Business School.
Amit Bhatia, GSG’s chief executive in India, says because SF-IND’s role is to unlock capital for the social sector, GSG sought to find leaders who share experience in private equity, venture capital and social or environment impact and philanthropy. “We look for leaders who know how to raise big money, who can unlock capital and yet have intrinsically a personal commitment for the social causes," adds Bhatia.