What impact investing can do

A new type of capital: What impact investing can do for you /

Biniyog Briddhi has set out to support the development of the impact investing ecosystem in Bangladesh since its launch in 2020. With inclusiveness being a key design rationale of the programme, the B-Briddhi team has intentionally expanded its activities beyond Dhaka. In March 2022, the concept of impact entrepreneurship and impact capital was introduced in Chittagong. Supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, the B-Briddhi programme partners Roots of Impact and LightCastle Partners conducted an inspiring workshop together with Bangladesh Angels and Startup Chattogram. Here is what you have missed:

How to define impact more specifically – and why

Bijon Islam, CEO at LightCastle Partners, and Ameena Chowdhury, Programme Manager at the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, welcomed the participants and shared the potential of the local ecosystem in their speeches. In the workshop, Maxime Cheng, Lead Market & Capacity Building Programs at Roots of Impact,  introduced the concept of impact entrepreneurship and impact investment and elaborated on the relevance of impact capital in facilitating inclusive economic growth in Bangladesh. While there is a consensus among investors and entrepreneurs that impact is of importance and aligned with traditional Bengali values, Maxime explained how it can be defined more specifically with the help of the five dimensions from the Impact Management Project. 

“While some understand impact as creating employment opportunities, it is more than that – especially when we would like to link financial incentives directly to impact performance“, Maxime explained by making reference to one of these five impact dimensions, the “WHO”. She illustrated how to differentiate the impact that is being created by (1) offering a job to a university graduate, as opposed to (2) an employment opportunity to a domestic helper who does not own a cellphone and would not have been able to access the job market otherwise. The concept of additionality is also of vital importance. “Are you creating an impact that would have taken place anyways? Or is this something that you are uniquely contributing to?” she asked.

Bringing a simple idea to life – and how to capture impact

Following Maxime’s introductory workshop, Reyasat Chowdhury, Founder & CEO of Shuttle, presented his startup’s journey to inspire new and upcoming entrepreneurs as well as to show how impact can be created through a simple idea brought to life. He also shared how the catalytic financing instrument called Impact Ready Matching Fund (IRMF) from the B-Briddhi programme has enabled him to articulate and capture the impact that Shuttle generates for women’s mobility, while also aligning it with his business growth plan. Participants in this workshop ranged from seasoned entrepreneurs to student startups who just started with their business ideas and the learning process. A short panel discussion featured the following panellists who shared their important experiences and learnings:

  • Arafatul Islam Akib, Founder & CEO, Startup Chattogram
  • Jawad Yusuf, Associate, Bangladesh Angels
  • Reyasat Chowdhury, Founder & CEO, Shuttle

Jawad Yusuf, Associate of Bangladesh Angels, shared his experience from the Train-the-Trainer programme of B-Briddhi: “We’re learning how to form (impact) metrics that support the revenue drivers of our portfolio entrepreneurs, and we’re on the verge of making it essential for our portfolio companies. If the entrepreneurs are more conscious of the triple bottom line, business is more sustainable in the long term.”

With Shuttle being one of the Impact Ready Matching Fund recipients of B-Briddhi, Reyasat Chowdhury reflected on the experience of his enterprise: “Earlier, we knew that we were creating an impact, but we weren’t sure how to communicate it. As we have gone through the Biniyog Briddhi program, we better know how to summarize our impact through the TOC framework by using the right metrics. In the future, if I start another company, I will focus on documenting our impact from day one.”

Some impressions:

Lively exchange of ideas

The event also enabled networking opportunities among startups and investors to elaborately talk about their businesses and impact angles. Overall, 50+ budding entrepreneurs and 10+ investors from the local Chittagong startup and investment ecosystem were present. The vibrant workshop set the tone as the stakeholders came together and interacted to share ideas, thoughts, and potential for future impact. 

Additional resources:

If you are curious about innovative ways to finance impact, we recommend checking out our Innovative Finance Toolkit. If you are an investor and would like to learn more about the impact enterprises that have received catalytic funding from B-Briddhi to date, please visit our investor page with case studies, snapshots and an inspiring dealbook.

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