Australian Aid LogoBilums, chocolate and seafood are some of the Pacific’s best-known products.  The organisations that produce these commodities are amongst a range of Pacific-based businesses considered as having the potential to become investable by social impact investors. 

Through the Pacific Readiness for Investment in Social Enterprises or Pacific RISE, the Australian Government is exploring unique ways of working with the private sector in the Pacific.  One way is using impact investing as a means of ensuring sustainability of the delivery of products and services to people within the region.

Recently Pacific RISE invited financial intermediaries to apply for funding to scope business opportunities in the Pacific with the aim of identifying products, organisations or social issues that have the potential to benefit from investment.  The call out was part of Pacific RISE’s first Scoping Round – a call for a second round has just been issued on 1 June 2017.

Six scoping projects have been funded in the first Scoping Round.

IIX logoFunded project: Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)
Countries: Fiji
Sectors: Agriculture, fisheries and tourism
Social issue: Community and economic development

Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) has partnered with Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) to identify and build capacity for Social Enterprises (SEs) deemed suitable to attract investments. With support from with Pacific Trade  and Invest, IIX and ABV will focus on SEs in three high-impact sectors that are at the intersection point of Fiji’s social progress and economic growth: agriculture, ecotourism and fisheries. The project includes a built-in gender lens angle that will prioritize entities focused on empowering women to be recognized as solutions instead of as victims. In parallel, IIX will identify potential impact investors and systemic gaps that need to be addressed to grow Fiji sustainably.

More information on IIX visit http://www.iixglobal.com/

logoFunded Project: Feed the Hunger
Countries: Fiji, Palau, Samoa and Vanuatu
Sectors: Fisheries  Social issue: Gender-based violence against women

3 billion people around the world are estimated to depend on marine and coastal resources, which is under tremendous pressure from human activities. The Pacific nations are amongst the most vulnerable and social enterprises are needing to adapt to the changing environments. Feed the Hunger Foundation is receiving funding from Pacific RISE to scope out several businesses in the food sector across four countries in the Pacific.  Not only will Feed the Hunger Foundation work with the already identified businesses to enable them to become ‘investable’ but they will also conduct research and analysis with the ultimate aim to decrease gender-based violence against women.

More information about Feed the Hunger visit http://www.feed-hunger.com/

Funded Project: Lotus Impact
Country: Vanuatu
Sectors: Agriculture, fisheries and forestry
Social issue: Community and Economic Development

After significant success in Vietnam in incubating and developing social enterprises, Lotus Impact will undertake a scoping mission to determine what adaptions can be made to its methods to ensure that they are appropriate and work for the Pacific.  Focusing on Vanuatu, Lotus staff will make trips to Vanuatu concentrating on enterprises associated with sustainable food, forestry, climate-related economic development and WASH.  They will use a collaboration partner in Vanuatu, as well as identifying potential investors through the Australian and US networks.

More information on Lotus Impact visit http://www.lotusimpact.com/

Impact_Brandmark_BlackFunded Project: Real Impact
Countries: Fiji, Marshall Islands, Samoa and Solomon Islands
Sector: Arts and Culture
Social issue: Community and economic development

The Pacific is well-renowned for the creative skills of billum, weaving, bark cloth and carving.  With the rise of more sophisticated media channels such as Pacific women’s magazines and social media, these skills are becoming increasingly attractive to new markets.  The REAL Group, through their program REAL Impact, is partnering with Pacific Islands Trade and Invest to develop the creative industries in arts, ethical fashion & interior design sector in the Pacific. As part of their scoping mission, REAL Impact will travel to Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Marshall Islands, PNG to meet with creative arts enterprises and scope building a Pacific-wide supply chain.

More information on Real Impact visit www.realsocialimpact.com 

SocialOutcomes-Logo-Flat-LightFunded Project: Social Outcomes

Country: Papua New Guinea
Sector: Agriculture
Social issue: Community and economic development
Papua New Guinea is becoming increasingly better known internationally for its uniquely flavoured cocoa beans.  Chocolate makers from around the world have travelled to PNG to source its aromatic bean.  Social Outcomes is working to support the recently established PNG Agricultural Company which aims to ensure that the cocoa farming families maximise the opportunities open to them.  They are building a commercial structure that will leverage the value chain but will ensure grassroots ownership.  The work will explore in detail this new concept and test its viability.  It will also be seeking to understand the industries opportunities and challenges better.

More information on Social Outcomes visit http://socialoutcomes.com.au/

TDi-PNGFunded Project: TDi
Country: Vanuatu
Sectors: Agriculture, fisheries and forestry
Social issue: Community and economic development

After successfully facilitating investment into two Pacific enterprises in the last 12 months, The Difference Incubator (TDi) continues its work in Vanuatu, developing deep relationships with entrepreneurs and their communities. TDi has identified a number of enterprises in Vanuatu and will work in a staged approach to conduct business modelling, undertake in-depth analysis and communicate their work with their investment partner – Benefit Capital – to ultimately have an investment opportunity identified.

More information on TDi visit http://www.tdi.org.au/

Scoping activities will take place over the next several months throughout the Pacific and will culminate with the finding of potential investible opportunties.  Pacific RISE has a goal of generating $5million of investment into the Pacific over a three year period.