An Exclusivity at Women’s CEO Forum
Helen Wong, Managing Partner at AC Ventures, Indonesia’s preeminent early-stage venture capital firm, recently captivated an influential audience at the Women’s CEO Forum in Jakarta. The forum, an elite sideline event of the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit 2023, convened policymakers, key business leaders, and investors from across the region.
AC Ventures: At the Heart of ASEAN’s Economic Aspirations
Under Indonesia’s chairmanship, ASEAN endeavors to forge a region marked by stability, adherence to international law, and human-centric values. With Indonesia representing an astounding 40% of the ASEAN economy, the focus naturally gravitates towards it as a lynchpin in the area’s broader economic strategy.
The Compelling Case for Backing Women Entrepreneurs
Taking the podium at this prestigious forum, Wong shared her valuable insights, elaborating on the solid economic logic of investing in women entrepreneurs and female venture capitalists in Indonesia. She detailed how Indonesia’s archipelago is teeming with over 64 million Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)—constituting 98% of the nation’s business framework and contributing to over 61% of the domestic economy. Intriguingly, more than half of these MSMEs are owned by women, which AC Ventures identifies as an untapped investment opportunity worth a staggering US$421 billion annually.
“In a market as vibrant as Indonesia’s, women entrepreneurs are not just fulfilling a social role; they are key economic drivers,” Wong asserted. “Our research indicates that investing in women-led businesses is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Helen. “Given that these businesses contribute significantly to the local economy – and keep it resilient during times of crisis such as the pandemic – we’re looking at an untapped yearly opportunity worth hundreds of billions of dollars. As such, we need more female investors who understand this and are willing to take concerted action to back more female founders.”
Diversity: Not Just a Buzzword but a Business Imperative
AC Ventures is no stranger to leading by example, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. The firm boasts a remarkable 50:50 gender-balanced team and a portfolio leadership that is 41% female. According to Wong, these figures are not mere vanity metrics but reflect AC Ventures’ unwavering commitment to engender an equitable business landscape.
“In our journey at AC Ventures, we’ve learned that diversity isn’t a buzzword; it’s a business imperative. A balanced team brings diverse perspectives, leading to smarter investment decisions and more robust portfolio performance.” Wong noted.
A Call to Action for Investors and Policymakers
During her compelling address, Wong urged fellow investors and policymakers to capitalize on this enormous untapped potential by backing female investors. The firm sets the gold standard in promoting diversity and inclusivity and seeks to influence the broader investment ecosystem to recognize the untapped goldmine in women-led enterprises.
By strategically aligning its investment philosophy with the vast potential harbored by women-led enterprises, AC Ventures is not merely championing social justice but is also catalyzing exponential economic growth in both Indonesia and the ASEAN region.
For more information on AC Ventures’ environmental and societal impact, visit their website.