Impact Investing: Who are we serving? A case of mismatch between supply and demand

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Oxfam has several programmes that focus on poverty-reducing enterprises which engage marginalized populations through investment and investment-like approaches. These programmes recognize the need to structure finance differently so that it realizes the full potential of those enterprises to make a sustainable contribution to poverty reduction.

The founders of Sumerian Partners have long histories of supporting start-up and growing businesses in both developed countries and emerging economies. This includes experience as entrepreneurs, as well as acting as asset managers and deploying philanthropic capital. 

This paper from Oxfam and Sumerian Partners questions some of the assumptions around impact investment and highlights the experience of enterprises contributing to poverty reduction so that they might be better served by the field. It argues that the sector risks being discredited due to rising, unrealistic expectations about financial returns.