In one of the capital cities of global capitalism, a new kind of stock exchange may be about to rise: one dedicated entirely to social enterprises.
Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange Asia -- IIX for short -- "is expected to be set up and operational by early next year," according to India-based citizen journalism site Merinews. It'd list and facilitate capital transfers in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations—any firm whose "primary motive" is to create "positive social impact" rather than just profit.
IIX is the brainchild of Durreen Shahnaz, a former banker for Morgan Stanley and Grameen Bank, and received early support from the U.S.-based Rockefeller Foundation. Earlier this week, the organization hosted Impact Forum 2012, a conference in Singapore for the "impact investors" and social entrepreneurs that Shahnaz hopes to attract to IIX.
Though there have been efforts to create similar markets in the West, IIX says Asia should have its own. "As is the case in the traditional securities markets, we expect that most social enterprises will prefer to initially list on an exchange in proximity to their business operations," argues the organization's FAQ. "Likewise, investors tend to be most comfortable investing in or near their home markets."
It's not clear what hurdles the marketplace still must clear; Channel News Asia reported this week that IIX is still "in talks with regulators." Mercy Corps' Sean Granville-Ross, our parent NGO's program director for East Asia, joined an Impact Forum panel on the private sector's role in climate change; we're looking forward to interviewing him about the forum. Stay tuned.