About Durreen Shahnaz
Durreen is the Founder and Chairwoman of Impact Investment Exchange and Founder and Managing Director of Impact Investment Shujog. Durreen is Adjunct Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Durreen has a track record as a successful banker, media executive and social entrepreneur. She founded, ran and sold the social purpose business oneNest in New York. She also headed up the Asia operations of Hearst Magazines International, Reader’s Digest Asia, and Asia City Publishing Group.
Durreen began her professional career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley (New York), followed by stints at Grameen Bank (Bangladesh), World Bank (Washington, D.C.), and Merrill Lynch (Hong Kong).
She holds a BA from Smith College; an MBA from Wharton, University of Pennsylvania; and an MA from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Durreen was a TED 2010 Fellow and Asia Society Asia 21 Fellow. She is an appointed member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation for 2011 and on the advisory board for CASE i3 at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Durreen is also the Social Entrepreneur in Residence for INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship Catalyst Program.
I'm passionate about
Leaving this world a better place than how I found it.
An idea worth spreading
I founded Impact Investment Exchange (IIX, www.asiaiix.com) which is providing various capital need for social enterprises; including seed stage capital (Impact Incubation), growth stage (Impact Partners) and matured stage capital raise on first regulated regional social stock exchange in the world (Impact Exchange). The exchange has been endorsed by governments and numerous ecosystem partners. The positive reaction to the exchange demonstrates the acceptance by members of the financial and public sectors of the need for reassessing the way we look at traditional capital markets. It is time for a conscious capitalism, and IIX is part of making that a reality. In the process of creating IIX, I have effectively created social capital markets structure in Asia. I founded another sister entity of IIX -- Impact Investment Shujog focused on research, impact assessment and advocacy in the impact investing space.
Talk to me about
social innovation, sustainable economic development, social capital market, gender issues
People don't know that I'm good at
Indian Classical Dance, Chinese brush painting
My TED Story
I am often asked ‘how do you get your ideas for new enterprises?’ My answer always is the same: the eureka moment happens gradually for me. The seed of oneNest was planted when I was working at Grameen Bank and saw women defaulting on loans due to a lack of access to markets to sell the products they were producing. I knew I wanted to do something about it, but it took another 7 years for that idea to germinate into oneNest, which I created to sell ethical products from the developing world to the developed world. Similarly, when I was running oneNest, one of the most time-consuming tasks for me was raising capital. It was doubly draining and time consuming because no potential financier really cared about the oneNest’s mission, which was to help the thousands of cooperatives and producers we worked with. The memory of that struggle stayed with me and eventually provided the impetus to create IIX -- creating capital markets for social good.