Historically, financial and social returns on investments were often seen as mutually exclusive objectives, generating largely independent outcomes. However, in today’s world there is a wide spectrum of responsible investment options that produce both social good as well as financial gains. The ability to influence and impact a wider sustainability cause, environmental or social, is no longer solely possible through philanthropic giving.

The term ‘Impact Investing’ refers to investments which contribute genuinely positive and measurable societal outcomes, whilst simultaneously generating often significant commercial returns for investors. 

Bringing sustainable investment and new technology into the GCC region is a key priority in supporting the region’s economic growth as well as contributing significantly to its social development ambitions. Venture Impact has a vital role to play here in bridging any delta – real or perceived – between the needs of society across the Gulf and public sector resourcing.

This webinar discussed the importance of leveraging venture capital for social purposes and identifying its positive implications for the Region. More specifically, explored the following questions:

  • What is impact investing and how can private funds be leveraged for social good? 
  • What role can venture capital investors play in the impact investing space?
  • What key strategies that can be employed when investing private funds for social good?
  • How can Venture Impact positively affect the regional ecosystem?

What we've learnt: 
  • Being transparent is a key practice when impact investing. Fund managers have a responsibility to be accountable as they strive to demonstrate their track record in yielding commercial results, while also contributing to positive societal change through their investments.
  • Corporate governance enables investees to overcome controversy and doubt, by addressing problems while they are still small, before they grow into more complex issues. This is critical to the success of an investment.
  • Investors have a responsibility to guide the organisations they invest in and provide them with the management skills and capabilities to implement corporate governance best practices.
  • When evaluating the impact of investments, the end beneficiary must always be at the centre of the process. People are the end beneficiary of impact investments. Investors must always consider, from an outcome’s perspective, what their funds are trying to achieve for these people.
  • With the growing talent across the Gulf region, venture capital will continue to contribute to the growth of impact investments. However, their success, longevity and growth depend on how well organisations adopt corporate governance practices and principles.