As mentioned in previous sections, soon after embarking on the journey of a Total Portfolio Management Approach, RS Group realized the social enterprise and impact investing “ecosystem” in Hong Kong was severely under-developed. Not only was the community of those interested in social innovation and sustainable development small, but it also felt as if many of the actors were not actively collaborating or being fully strategic in their efforts.
Being a family office, we have the freedom to take on a variety of roles on the spectrum between passive donor and program implementer, and utilize all the tools along that spectrum in an effort to catalyze the development of the ecosystem.
- First, we sought to build “the space in between”, by supporting individual organizations and individuals with the hope that, as more players are connected in a strategic and meaningful way, an environment can be created which fosters collaboration and mutual leverage of work for maximum impact. We supported relevant events and conferences (e.g., Hong Kong SE Summit and Asia Venture Philanthropy Network’s activities in Hong Kong), and convened regular meetings and gatherings of funders who share our interest in impact investing, environmental issues, and sustainability.
- Within this network, we also identified organizations that have the potential to scale for impact or could have catalytic impact on the field of social entrepreneurship and impact investing in Hong Kong, and we looked to offer more directed support to their work where the need arises. This was the case for SVhk, in which we were an early investor, and the Hong Kong Social Impact Analysts Institute, an organization supporting the development of social impact measurement professionals and case studies in Hong Kong, to which we provided seed funding. We also commissioned the “EngageHK” report, a mapping exercise identifying the activities and gaps in Hong Kong’s social sector.
- At the same time, we continue to engage directly in activities that we believe are in strategic alignment with our overall mission. This includes our investment activities into impact funds, frequently as the only investor from Hong Kong (and sometimes Asia), as well as long-term collaboration with specific partner organizations on projects that we deem to be of strategic value, such as Civic Exchange’s Wellbeing Index Survey.