Singapore — March 28th, 2017 — Durreen Shahnaz, Founder of Singapore-based Impact Enterprise IIX (Impact Investment Exchange) and the IIX Foundation, was selected as a 2017 Business for Peace Award Honoree for her commitment to promoting an evolved form of capitalism that values both financial returns and positive social and environmental impact. IIX, through its work over the last eight years, has effectively created a social capital market in Asia, connecting investment to development and unlocking millions of dollars for high-impact enterprises, resulting in impacting over eight million lives.
Durreen Shahnaz is no stranger to redefining the status quo. She was the first Bangladeshi woman to work on Wall Street and to graduate from the renowned Wharton School of Business. Shahnaz’s first entrepreneurial venture was in 1999 when she began an e-commerce company that connected rural artisans worldwide to an online global marketplace with oneNest. After growing and selling oneNest, she continued her pursuit of sustainable growth and equitable markets by founding IIX, the Impact Investment Exchange, and creating not only the world’s first social stock exchange but also a global ecosystem and various innovative financial structures and capital-raising platforms to support the growth of impact investing. Under Shahnaz’s leadership, IIX continues to be a pioneering force and leader in the impact investing space that pushes the boundaries of innovation when it comes to involving players from the private, public, and philanthropic sectors in solving today’s most pressing issues.
Shahnaz explains, “If we are going to achieve an equitable and peaceful society, it is imperative for us to have a financial system that is inclusive and works for all. Thus, crazy as it may have been, I committed myself eight years ago to revolutionizing capital markets to promote equal and sustainable growth worldwide. It was a ‘quixotic dream’ equivalent to boiling the ocean of financial change. Well, that quixotic dream is a reality now and that ocean is lukewarm, so we are definitely getting there!”
The 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award highlights exceptional individuals who are able to ethically create economic value while generating value for society. Recipients are selected by a committee of Nobel Prize winners and past award recipients include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin (2014), Ratan Tata of Tata Group (2010), Mo Ibrahim of Mo Ibrahim Foundation (2009), and Paul Polman of Unilever (2015). This year, the four honorees, including Durreen Shahnaz, will be presented to the public and the media at an Award Ceremony on Tuesday 16 May, 2017 in Oslo City Hall, the same location as that of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
“Impact Investing has been growing rapidly in recent years and I am honored to be recognized as an innovator at the forefront of this movement. I view this award as a celebration of both the progress we have made to date as well as an encouragement to continue to dedicate myself and IIX to this mission and impact 100 million lives by 2020 by changing finance and financing change for social and environmental good.” Shahnaz shares.
IIX is a Singapore-based impact enterprise that bridges the gap between finance and development, carving out third space for global social and environmental solutions by unlocking investment capital. As a pioneer of impact investing, IIX builds pathways to connect the Wall Streets of the world with the backstreets of underserved communities. IIX platforms and innovative financial products enable impact enterprises to accelerate their business and positive impact, while pushing the impact investing space from the margins to the mainstream. To date, the work of IIX has spanned 20 countries and continues to expand with the mission of improving 100 million lives by 2020.
About IIX Foundation
IIX Foundation focuses primarily on the program management of grant-funded projects. With IIX Foundation’s flagship program IIX ACTS, the foundation supports early and growth stage social enterprises to raise capital so that they can thrive, grow, and impact more lives. In addition, IIX Foundation creates opportunities for blended capital to leverage philanthropy funding to unlock investment capital.