Launch of The Impact Investment WA Alliance
WA Treasurer Hon. Ben Wyatt MLA launched the Impact Investment WA Alliance (IIWA) in front of leaders from the State’s government, finance, philanthropic, community and business sectors on September 10 at the UWA University Club.
The Alliance is a world-first attempt at different sectors joining forces to design an effective impact investment market from the ground up. It has clear objectives and provides a reference group for government, investors and other stakeholders as they develop new initiatives and policies.
“Impact investing is an opportunity for the Government to take a fundamentally different approach to addressing our priorities as a State, while building a new finance market in WA to positively contribute to our community,” Mr Wyatt said.
Community Services Minister Hon. Simone McGurk MLA said the services must not just be well intended, but effective. “We have a responsibility to deliver outcomes, so I welcome the contribution to how we measure, and of course pay, for services for WA families,” Ms McGurk said.
Impact Seed Co-founder Sven Stenvers said that, with the right support, impact investment had the capacity to address some of WA’s most intractable social and environmental challenges through business investment. “These could range from employment-based social enterprises which can support people suffering disadvantage, such as long-term unemployment and disability, through to regenerative agriculture projects in partnership with Aboriginal corporations, which have the capacity to transform WA’s $8 billion agriculture sector, and our food system into the State’s largest carbon drawdown project,” Mr Stenvers said.
“Today’s launch of the Alliance with the Treasurer and Minister McGurk sees a high leverage point for positive action towards these goals.”
The Centre for Social Impact UWA Director Paul Flatau said the Centre was very pleased to partner with Impact Seed and others in the launch of IIWA as it will “help catalyse the development of impact investment in WA”.
“Impact investing funds have the potential to significantly expand the pool of finance that can be used directly to create social impact whether that is investments in Aboriginal businesses, in housing targeted to those vulnerable in the housing market, to debt and equity finance used to
scale up social enterprises supporting employment options for disadvantaged job seekers or social impact bonds that create innovative options to address homelessness,” Professor Flatau said.
WA Super Chairman Tim Shanahan said the Alliance was about people in WA getting organised around impact investment. “This is a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in Western Australia, for Western Australians with the intention and willingness to use capital for the greater good,” Mr Shanahan said.
Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director Oral McGuire challenged the investors and policymakers in the room to look at finance as a system that works with First Nations people, rather than against people. “It’s on this land that Noongar people upheld the principal of caring for everything,” Mr McGuire said.
The chief executive of Melbourne-based Impact Investment Group Chief Executive Officer Daniel Madhavan described the Alliance as a “unique opportunity to place outcomes at the centre of how finance is designed”. Mr Madhavan recognised that WA can draw on its strengths for the creation of this new market:
• a sense of self that is connected to place and community;
• a unique economic mix; and
• philanthropic institutions and individuals (e.g. Lotterywest) that other States would dream of.
Social Enterprise Finance Australia Chief Investment Officer Hanna Ebeling said the Alliance allowed funders to work together to provide a clear pathway for organisations seeking finance, avoiding the funding gaps that have arisen in other impact investing markets.
IIWA is an alliance of member organisations, auspiced by Impact Seed. The founding members include Impact Seed, the Centre for Social Impact (UWA), WA Super, the Western Australian Council for Social Service (WACOSS) and Impact Collective.