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A lot of enthusiasm has surrounded social finance over the last two years. A range of communities, reports, forums and funds interests have sprouted up around Southeast Asia with a focus on Indonesia as the largest market. To build on this excitement and support UNDP in diving into the ecosystem, ANGIN has researched the social finance ecosystem, looking at different layers of the ecosystem (pipeline, supply of capital, regulatory aspect, capacity builders) and identifying some of the barriers that block social finance in thriving in Indonesia. The full report is available here for download, but here are some of the facts:
A new flow of investors is coming. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of active impact investors in the country did not increase significantly and remains at an estimated number of 30 investors. 26 new prospective impact investors were looking to enter Indonesia in 2016.
There is a disconnect between impact funds and social enterprises.There is limited capacity for social enterprises to absorb the capital of large investors, both on the ticket size and financial instrument offered. Social enterprises in Indonesia are facing small–ticket size funding gap. More than 70% of social enterprises in Indonesia are in the pre-seed and seed stage and would require funding ranging between USD 10,000 to up to USD 150,000 which is not currently addressed by the impact investors. Most of the impact investors are offering equity or quasi-equity (i.e. convertible note) financing schemes to the social enterprises, while 70% of the social enterprises encountered need loans.
There are not many successfully funded social enterprises with an exit case. There have only been a few social enterprises funded in Indonesia and none had offered exit to the investors. This low number of successfully funded social enterprises, with a relatively young investment tenure, makes it too early for their impacts to be assessed. The absence of this proof of concept refrains corporates, government bodies and more established institutions that have a relatively low appetite for risk.
There is limited availability for Indonesia-based impact investors. Few players have a full domestic play (locally based asset manager and fund). Having more local champion investors who are willing to take more risk – given their background in doing business in Indonesia – will not only benefit the social enterprises they invest in. It can also serve as a pioneer and a proof of concept for government institutions to push for greater policies supporting social enterprises.
The legal environment and low understanding on how to invest in Indonesia are barriers to invest. From our interview with impact investors (mostly foreign-based), very few managers have a full understanding of the legal framework to disperse capital in Indonesia, from issuing a loan to injecting equity. Their market prospecting time has been focused on building a pipeline of companies and the legal side has been postponed to later stages when the actual transaction occurs (learning by doing). The lack of comprehensive platform and access to reliable legal/notary services were among the issues pointed out.
There is a limited number of impactful capacity-building structures to create scalable social enterprise cases. ANGIN identified 62 enablers have been running programs in Indonesia throughout 2016 (increase by 300% compared to 2015). Existing enabling organizations mostly focuses more on generic support in the form of workshops and classrooms and has the downside of reliance on a donor. Most of the advice that is given is on building businesses (business canvas), while sector-specific problem-solving is barely touched. There is also a limited connection to the funding side.
Agriculture still represents most of the impact pipeline. with 55% of the companies identified have operations alongside the agriculture and food value chain.
While these barriers are identified, there is energy to break and pass through them. The OJK-UNDP event gathered more than 200 selected invitees, with a unique mix of Indonesian conglomerates, international foundations, family foundations, impact investors, traditional technology venture capitalists, social enterprises, regulatory bodies and domestic commercial and retail banks. In our opinion, it was not the “usual suspects, same people”, but rather concrete blend of different expertise and financial resources looking at social finance, and this is encouraging.
Francine Pickup, Deputy Country Director of UNDP Indonesia shared to Tthe Jakarta Post that “The greatest challenge hindering social finance is the disconnect between investors and social enterprises that rely on funding to thrive. Impact investors are expressing interest, but small enterprises are not always ready and capable to manage large funds”.
ANGIN echoes Francine’s statement and the pending questions for us are always who will be the catalyzer of these expressed interests, who will be turning these interests into deployable resources for Indonesia, who will shape the right funding/supportive structure in line with the Indonesia SDGs priorities. In other words, who will turn the “hype” into actions.
We see that UNDP has taken a pioneer role in pushing a potential implementation ahead with a blended finance structure being discussed. ANGIN will continue to support UNDP in this promising endeavor, engaging with more public and private sector players to shacking the Indonesian social finance and bringing the right support to the social enterprises.
In parallel, we are always working with several partners (UNDP, AVPN…) in designing new tools to develop the impact investment market in Indonesia and support the ecosystem. ANGIN is piloting a new free tool named “the Impact Connector” to support investors in assessing pipeline in Indonesia and vice versa to support Indonesian social enterprises in being connected to the right capital providers. This is not another directory or brokering entity but rather an extension of what ANGIN is doing: a high-touch support to bridge investors/companies.