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Amplifier: Supporting Impact Startups to Scale

15 May 2024

The Amplifier mentorship programme’s first cohort of mentees — impact ventures Circ, GRST, MAYANI, MYCL, and Sampangan — had a fruitful induction week in Singapore, participating in workshops, masterclasses, and networking events.

During the week, the mentees also met with the advisory partners, had one-on-one meetings with mentors, and participated in the Philanthropy Asia Summit 2024 and the Impact Investing Roundtable 2024.

The year-long Amplifier programme kicked off at the Summit this April, when Temasek Trust ecosystem entities — the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices (CIIP) and Philanthropy Asia Alliance (PAA) — announced the cohort of five mentees who were selected out of 139 submissions from 35 countries.

The capacity-building programme aims to nurture impact startups to become commercially viable and scale positive impact in Asia. Taking a ‘whole-of-ecosystem’ approach, it brings together experts, mentors, catalytic funding, and other resources from across industries and sectors, to collectively bolster impact ventures in scaling their business.

Watch: Amplifier 2024 Induction Week Highlights

 

The five impact ventures, from Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the US, will each receive up to S$250,000 of catalytic funding, supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth as the Amplifier’s Impact Innovation Partner, as well as expertise and mentorship from over 30 global and regional industry leaders across sectors.

Themed “Climate and Nature”, the Amplifier 2024 is focused on scaling solutions around sustainable agriculture, circular business models, waste management, sustainable materials, and emissions reduction. Watch our launch video here.

Read on as we recap key highlights from the induction week.


Building meaningful, global connections

The mentor-mentee relationship is at the core of the Amplifier. Among other critical offerings, mentors provide strategic advice and practical guidance, as well as support the search and identification of potential reference clients for the mentees. In turn, mentors gain early exposure to innovative solutions that may address their own problem statements.

At the opening dinner, the mentees were introduced to the programme team, potential mentors, and some of the programme’s partners.

Following the initial matchmaking between mentees and mentors during the induction week, the mentorship sessions and activities will take place across the 12 months of the programme.

Representatives from Circ, GRST, MAYANI, MYCL, and Sampangan got to know the mentors and partners at an experiential dining session.


At the Philanthropy Asia Summit 2024, organised by PAA, the mentees joined more than 400 delegates across the global philanthropic, private, and public sectors to hear from action and thought leaders on solutions and systems-thinking in philanthropy across the interconnected areas of climate, health, and education.

During the Summit’s partner session, anchored by the Wealth Management Institute, Mr. Peter Majeranowski, CEO and President of Circ, spoke about the US-based startup’s innovative solution and patented process to recycle global fashion waste back into textiles.


Circ's Mr. Peter Majeranowski highlighted how the fashion industry is putting an alarming strain on the environment, which necessitates a shift towards sustainable and circular practices.


Meanwhile, at the Impact Investing Roundtable 2024, organised by Temasek and CIIP, the Amplifier mentees participated in debate-style discussions about impact measurement and accountability, and climate-aligned investments.

They deliberated the motions for debate in small groups with other event attendees — which included asset managers and allocators, impact-driven companies, government representatives, and ecosystem buildings — before presenting their consensus views.

The Roundtable participants, including the Amplifier mentees, weighed in on whether the benefits of impact management and measurement outweigh the cost, and whether we have reached an inflexion point for climate investing in emerging markets.

 

Mr. Frank Harley, Chief Strategy Officer of GRST, was also part of a panel discussion at the Roundtable about uplifting startups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for supply chain inclusivity and sustainability. Based in Hong Kong, GRST manufactures sustainable lithium-ion batteries through a water-based production method.


GRST's Mr Frank Harley on a panel at the Roundtable. The panellists examined how SMEs can navigate financing challenges and regulatory pressures, hurdles in integrating ESG practices, and the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches in SMEs’ sustainability journeys.

 


 

Learning about strategy, fundraising, scaling, and impact

A series of masterclasses and workshops capped off the induction week. The Amplifier mentees drew from the wealth of experience and expertise brought by trainers from Accenture, B Lab, CIIP, Dechert, Deloitte Singapore, PwC Singapore, Rajah & Tann Asia, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) SDG Impact, UOB, and WongPartnership LLP.

Across two days, topics covered during the training sessions included impact measurement, implementing sustainable practices, innovation, patents, pitching, and venture fundraising.

Deloitte Singapore's Center for the Edge kicked off the first day with a strategy masterclass, exploring how future trends might inform and refine the startups’ business narratives with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and design thinking.

Next, B Lab Singapore shared how the B Corporation certification can help mentees improve their impact strategies, emphasising the critical role of businesses in delivering impact for communities and the environment. PwC Singapore then delved into venture fundraising, taking mentees through the Southeast Asian landscape, fundraising strategies, and the importance of bringing the right investors in under the right conditions.



Dechert discussed how startups can navigate venture capital term sheets and share subscription agreements, as well as the different types of security such as convertible notes and preference shares.

Rajah & Tann Asia talked about how the startups could implement strong practices and systems around intellectual property, patents, and licensing. UOB offered insights into the benefits of exchanging knowledge and insights within a sustainable community, diving into key sustainability themes for businesses.


On the second day of training,
Accenture gave a breakdown of the components that make up a successful pitch. The Amplifier mentees then had the opportunity to practise pitching to a mock panel of potential interested parties and received prompt feedback.


Wong Partnership LLP
gave a primer on Singapore’s taxation regime as well as tax planning and incentives for companies. Deloitte encouraged the mentees to leverage the power of storytelling through branding and digital solutions to better connect with their consumers and investors.



At a joint impact workshop by
UNDP SDG Impact and CIIP, mentees heard from a UNDP SDG Impact guest speaker on key concepts in sustainability and in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, as well as best practices when integrating responsible business and impact management practices into their systems and decisions. 

CIIP then provided an overview of impact investing, highlighting the need for integrity around measuring impact and how startups can operationalise impact.

 

Watch the induction week highlights video here.


 

Powered by partnerships

We are grateful to the extensive network of partners who are working closely with the Amplifier team to bring the programme to life. The success of the Amplifier is underpinned by support from organisations and individuals driven to make a difference by contributing their expertise, influence, and resources to help companies scale their impact in Asia.

The Amplifier welcomes more partners to come onboard — whether as a funder, mentor, and/or a reference client to pilot or trial a company’s products and/or services and provide feedback, as well as in-kind resources, services, and advice.

For queries, please reach out to us at [email protected]

The call for submissions for the next cohort of mentees will commence in the third quarter of 2024.

Follow PAA and CIIP on LinkedIn to get the latest updates.

 


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