This January, Venture Avenue and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) co-organized a winter camp for children of key clients at SCB. The event is aimed at improving their understanding of philanthropy, and encouraging them to practice philanthropic ideas into daily life.
In January 2017, Venture Avenue (VA) was invited as a guest speaker at the Asia Private Bank and Family Office Summit in Hong Kong. The VA team shared the experience of impact investment since 2012, and discussed with the participating Family Offices about how to use innovative methods to advance the development of China social enterprises.
Since 2016, Venture Avenue was honored to be appointed as a consultant to Asian Development Bank (ADB) in China. Since then, we have been actively supporting ADB to explore effectives ways with business in poverty alleviation in China. As the pilot project continues in Shanxi, it has visited and identified more than ten private companies with inclusive business potential, which will receive additional assistance to advance the inclusive business model.
Shuangyashan, Qitaihe, Jixi, Hegang, the four rich coal cities located in Heilongjiang province, suffer from the downturn of local economy and low employment rate, because of the heavy dependence on coal industry and its recent decline. In February, as consultants to Asian Development Bank (ADB), the VA team went to the four coal cities, undertaking thorough investigation and analysis to learn the current operation states of local SMEs, the challenges they are facing and the supports they would need. VA designed the supporting services for SMEs, based on the local non-coal pillar industries, to facilitate the transformation of local economy and sustainable supply of jobs.
Until mid-September 2016, the First Sound project co-founded by Venture Avenue and China Women’s Development Foundation has already established its implementation network in Shandong Province. The project team has finished screening of 80+ potential beneficiaries, visited 11 of them, and confirmed 9 children to be eligible. Four of the children have received cochlear implant, and 3 of them have started their 1-year language training program. For more details please click here to go to the website.
In July 2016, The Asian Development Bank (ADB) appointed Venture Avenue as one of the consults in China to undertake the first-of-its-kind landscaping study on how inclusive businesses operate in China and how to leverage businesses to effectively alleviate poverty in China.
Invited by a renowned domestic public-raising foundation in March 2016, Venture Avenue provided feasibility study and overall design for a family charity product. The project aims to popularize the concept of family charity and enrich people’s way of doing charity by exploring and advancing the cutting-edge idea. In May, Venture Avenue was invited again to provide execution service for project’s kick-off and early-stage operation, services include project management, detailed product design, establish cooperative partnership, promotion strategy design and execution, etc.
Venture Avenue was engaged by a leading international sportswear brand to consolidate their experiences of implementing Active School Project and compile a resource book. The project aims to enable kids to enjoy physical exercises before, mid and after classes.
The third Social Investment Platform initiated by the British Council and several social investors ended successfully. After discreet screening, Yu Venture Philanthropy nominated three social enterprises to be its potential investee. They are Ricedonate, Carbonstop, and Yixiu Academy.
Co-founded with China Women’s Development Foundation, the First Sound is VA’s first attempt in carrying out a long-term program that aims to help children between 0-6 years old with severe hearing difficulties in China, and raise public awareness for this issue. VA engages in both the designing and implementation stage of the program, which plans to be nationwide after establishing its networks in 3 core provinces in 2016.
VA was invited to conduct strategic planning for Guangdong Harmony Foundation (GHF), a community foundation that provides support for grassroots NGOs in the Pearl River Delta. VA carried out an independent social impact assessment for GHF’s work in the past 6 years. Suggestions regarding GHF’s positioning and fundraising strategies were offered after a series of stakeholder interviews and analysis of the organization’s internal and external environment.
Invited by the Lao Niu Foundation (LNF), VA started an independent evaluation on the performance and impact of five major projects. Based on the evaluation results, VA will provide recommendation on project sustainability. In addition, VA will help LNF enhance its project evaluation scheme and strengthen team capacity to conduct internal evaluation in the future.
“Social Innovation Hub”, which was initiated by Mr. Yongguang Xu, Yu Venture Philanthropy and other 7 social investment institutions, partnered with Tsinghua x-lab to co-launch the “Tsinghua x-lab · Social Innovation Hub”. The mission is to cultivate future social entrepreneurs who tackle social problems with business solutions, to advance social enterprise scale-up via close working relationships, and ultimately, to close income gap in China and foster a favorable environment for sustainable development.
VA was engaged by Shenzhen Foundation of International Exchange and Cooperation (SFIEC) to conduct strategic planning. Registered in December 2014, SFIEC is the only private foundation in Shenzhen led by the government to promote international exchange and cooperation. VA will provide recommendation on SFIEC’s development in the next three years with need assessment, data analysis, benchmark study, target setting, and roadmap.
VA entered an agreement with Like Fund to provide a one-year strategic consulting service. Like Fund is a young social venture that uses internet to “make good happen”.
Venture Avenue was engaged by a leading international sportswear brand to provide a one-year CSR project support. In partnership with a leading domestic foundation, the company launched an innovation CSR program, which aspires to connect public interests in sports and philanthropy leveraging sports app and social media. Such connection was expected to strengthen the bond between philanthropic sports fans and the two brands, and promote a more active lifestyle.
Venture Avenue was engaged by a leading international sportswear brand to provide a landscape study on China’s sports-related NGOs. Later VA will help the client invite key players in the field and organize a seminar/platform in May with the purpose to accelerate the development of grassroots sports-related NGOs in China, particularly those with a focus on children and adolescence sports advocacy.
Venture Avenue was invited by a leading public foundation in China to provide a two-day strategic planning workshop to its management and staff. VA team gave an introduction of what is strategic planning and how to do strategic planning with case examples. The team also guided workshop participants to discuss groups around topics such as mission, core value, strategic choice, strategy implementation, etc.
Venture Avenue was invited by a well-known public foundation in China to provide consultancy for its project-based organizational structure changes. The services included bottleneck identification, structure adjustment, process optimization and strategic recommendations, to fully address the needs of GONGO de-institutionalization reform and empower its continuous development.
Venture Avenue was engaged by NPI (Non-Profit Incubation) to join 2014 China Social Franchising Workshop. The workshop aspired to help Chinese social enterprises develop replication strategy and understand the issues that these organizations were facing in the replication process.
Yu Venture Philanthropy partnered with the British Council again and the other 8 social investors as well as capacity building organizations to launch the second social investment platform (RMB10 million in total). This is to meet the demand of the rapid development of Chinese social enterprises and advance their growth.
Upon the completion of East Asia Social Investment Scoping Study Phase I, VA continued with Phase II starting from September, commissioned by an international organization. The study analyzed social investment and their ecosystems in East Asia, deep-dived into the key challenges faced by social investors, and mapped out how a regional platform can potentially address those challenges.
Jointly with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, VA started a strategic planning project for Lao Niu Foundation. In the three months followed, the joint team researched the philanthropic markets in China, Southeast Asia and Africa and provide recommendations based on internal interviews, needs analysis, partner interviews, branding strategy and international best practice benchmarking. This is a milestone for VA in providing professional service for family foundations.
Invited by an international organization, VA completed a scoping study of social investment in nine countries and regions including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, etc. The study focuses on understanding the overall landscape of social investment in East Asia region and the key challenges. VA further analyzed the value of potentially launching a regional social investment platform and provided preliminary recommendations on the business model for this platform and how to get it started.
Commissioned by the Cultural and Education Section of the British Council, VA has completed interim evaluation of its 2012-2015 Connecting Classrooms program. The program is a global education program that includes school partnerships, professional development for teachers and policy dialogue. By embedding an international dimension into the classrooms, the program aims to cultivate global citizenship among the young generation.
VA was engaged by a leading multinational financial institution to assess its community project portfolio and provide recommendations on how to optimize the portfolio. Also, VA designed a China CSR strategy for this company based on portfolio analysis, new investment area research, CSR benchmarking, and competitor analysis.
Core members from the Investment Committee of Yu Venture Philanthropy (Yu VP) have selected 8 social enterprises with high potential and shared vision from a competitive pool of over 200 social enterprises. At the boot camp in early November, Yu VP is going to provide them with training on topics like strategy, finance, and presentation skills and with one-on-one in-depth mentoring. Then each social enterprise will pitch their respective business plans, and only 2 of them can enter the next phase and receive two months of consulting service. The consulting service is intended to futher improve the capacity of the 2 social enterpises. Finally, one of them will receive investment early next year.
Xinhu-Yu Venture Philanthropy Fund, together with other 5 social investment funds, partnered with the British Council to set up the first social investment platform in China (9 million RMB in total). This is to meet the demand of the rapid development of Chinese social enterprises and advance their growth.
Venture Avenue was invited by British Council to conduct a research among over 800 trainees of its 2009-2013 “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” project to understand the status quo of the social enterprise sector in China and trainees’ feedback towards the project. The research report will be delivered in early September.
Robin and Gracia were invited by Rende Foundation to conduct strategic planning training for 4 charity foundations in Shanghai. The workshop covered strategic planning fundamentals, and also involved in individual practices following a 4-step approach.
Invited by British Council, VA started final evaluation of 17 Tencent-BC We Love Award winners. The evaluation covers the following factors: project output and social impact, efficiency of grant spending, management efficiency, and efficiency of online fundraising.
VA completed baseline evaluation on 8British Council E-Idea Award winners of 2011 and 2012. Clinical reports including action-driven recommendations were also provided. Based on VA’s baseline analysis, 4 “higher-potential” social enterprises will be selected. In July, VA will conduct field workshops to streamline their key bottleneck issues.
Robin Zhang was invited to join Daimler’s field trip to Sichuan Shifang Elementary School and Yaan Giant Panda Home. Robin presented his evaluation findings to Mr. Ulrich Walker, Chairman of Daimler Northeast Asia, and Ms. Yan Wang, Vice President of Daimler.
Michael Tong as co-founder of Yu Venture Philanthropy, attended the first Social Enterprise and Social Investment Forum organized by Social Enterprise Research Center. As a guest speaker, Michael's speech covered how social capital can catalyze social innovation, and how to build the business cycle for social entrepreneurship.
Invited by British Council and Diageo, Robin Zhang spoke at the news conference in Beijing to summarize social impact of British Council’s “further training” which is part of the “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” project, as well as the “Phoenix” Project co-launched by British Council and Venture Avenue in 2011. More than 30 media attended the news conference including People’s Daily, Beijing TV, etc.
Robin met Mr. Vernon Ellis, global Chair of British Council in Beijing. Robin shared Venture Avenue's observations over China’s overall civil sector landscape, and key enablers for social enterprise sector to scale up.
Xinhu-Yu Venture Philanthropy Fund officially launched in Tianjin. Xinhu-Yu was jointly founded by Xinhu Group, Amity Foundation and Yu VP, with an initial funding of RMB 10 million. The fund is committed to scale up social enterprises through angel funding and consultancy. We are honored to have Mr. Xu Yongguang join our board of directors as chairman.
VA started impact evaluation on “Chang Qing Volunteer Teaching” project for China Social Entrepreneur Foundation. In additional to project outcome and efficiency, we will focus on the positive impact on local community and the society. The evaluation is expected to complete in early December.
VA completed due diligence on 14 candidates of One Foundation 2012 Transparency Grants. We have provided assessment based on candidates’ governance, project management, financial management and transparency.
Robin Zhang was invited to speak at British Council International Partner Network Symposium at Yangon, Myanmar. Robin’s speech focused on the the landscape of China’s social enterprise sector, as well as opportunities and challenges of impact investing in China.
VA kicked off 5-year strategic planning for one of the top-5 public foundations in China. In 2 months, VA will set fund raising target and design a series of fund raising initiatives for the foundation’s core projects. VA will also develop the organizational structure, management processes and tools for the foundation.
Invited by UBS, Robin Zhang spoke at “UBS Asia Art of Giving” forum on impact investing, addressing 200+ ultra net worth individuals all over the world. Robin’s speech covers the subject of impact investing’s landscape in China, what can be learned from global best practice, and what can’t given China's uniqueness.
Invited by British Council, Robin Zhang attended the China - UK video conference on the subject of impact investing. Robin has reviewed the opportunities and challenges facing impact investing in China, and exchanged perspectives with social entrepreneurs and impact investors in the UK.
VA conducted final evaluation on 12 winning Social Enterprises of British Council’s “Skills to Social Entrepreneurs” 2010-2011 award scheme. Narada Foundation, China Social Entrepreneur Foundation and More Love Foundation are the sponsors of this program in China. In this year’s evaluation, VA has adopted systematic efficiency KPIs in additional to traditional “input-activities-output-outcome” framework.
VA was invited by China Foundation Center to develop business plan for its “China Foundation Training Center” project. VA will conduct financial feasibility study, formulate investment plan, and provide on-going support in investor engagement.
VA formed partnership with a leading automobile company to provide CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) services. Our services include up-front CSR strategy and on-going operational support.
VA was invited by British Council to provide training for more than 130 social entrepreneurs on strategic planning and financial management. Based on previous evaluation experiences on more than 30 BC “Skill for Social Entrepreneurs” award-winners, our training covered common issues and challenges in strategic planning that many social entrepreneurs in china are facing today. VA also provided practical tools and advices, which were well received by social entrepreneurs.
VA was invited by Fuping Development Institute to formulate business plan for its Eco Agriculture project. The business plan covers market study, entry strategy, high-level operation plan and financial feasibility study.
VA launched the first local RMB Venture Philanthropy Fund in China – Yu Fund. Yu Fund was initiated by 5 VA board members. Through angle social investment and operational consultancy, Yu Fund will support the highest potential social entrepreneurs and achieve explosive social impact.
VA was invited by the British Council and Diageo to start a one-year consulting service for 5 high-potential social enterprises.The consulting service included strategic planning,action Planning,continuous monitoring and other customized services.
Robin Zhang was invited by Fuping Development Institute and Ford Foundation to speak on Ford Foundation’s International Conference on Pathways to Higher Education.
VA successfully completed the 5-year strategic planning for Beijing Ministry of Civil Affairs CPF project - this is VA's first breakthrough in government service sector.
VA started monitoring and evaluation on 31 award winners of British Council’s “Skills to Social Entrepreneurs” program. Narada Foundation, China Social Entrepreneur Foundation and More Love Foundation are the sponsors of this program in China.
Robin Zhang was invited by Skoll World Forum to be a keynote speaker on China’s NGO policy and landscape development at Oxford.
VA was invited by Beijing Ministry of Civil Affairs to start a ten-week strategic planning for its affiliated Capital Philanthropy Federation (CPF). The strategic plan expects to provide a 5-year roadmap to CPF in order to better service philanthropy sector in China's capital city.
Robin Zhang was invited to attend the opening ceremony for Jet Li’s One Foundation to “go public” at Shengzhen, and exchanged ideas with Mr. Jet Li, Mr. Wang Shi on future development planning.
Invited by Aide et Action, VA visited Gan Zi prefecture, Sichuan to conduct a 2 week evaluation on its early education project.
Invited by British Council, Mr. Robin Zhang conducted “strategic planning” training for 40+ social entrepreneurs in Beijing.
Mr. Robin Zhang was invited to meet Ms Chen Bailing, the vice president of Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau, and formed initial agreement for providing strategic planning service for Capital Philanthropy Federation.
VA’s Managing Director, Robin Zhang, was invited to the “Social Innovation Carnival”, hosted by China Social Entrepreneur Foundation. Robin participated in the panel discussion on “Venture Philanthropy and Social Enterprise”, along with international experts.
VA was invited by British Council to conduct a “social enterprise financial management” workshop for 75+ Chinese social entrepreneurs as part of the “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” programme. VA’s financial controller, Kathy Wang led the workshop.
VA’s Managing Director, Robin Zhang, was invited to speak on “China social innovation” at Skoll Center’s International Social Innovation Research Conference at Oxford, England. Robin's speech covers case study examples, segmentation and analysis of 4 innovation models
VA’s Managing Director, Robin Zhang, was invited by Narada Foundation to lead a strategy review for Gesanghua – a leading NGO who has sponsored 17,500 poor students in their educational pursuits in western China. Robin also joined Narad's field trip to advise the feasibility to fund two leading NGOs in western China.
Partnering with Jet Li’s One Foundation and D.Light Design, VA successfully launched the phase II of “Giving Solar Light - Lighting Up Hope” project – total 22,000 families in Mei Gu country of Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan, are expected to benefit from the project, with affordable solar lights and night school education.
(“Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” programme is a large-scale global project initiated by the British Council, which will last for three years from 2009 until 2012. The purpose of the project is to equip NGO practitioners, community leaders, young people and potential or existing social entrepreneurs with skills to adopt social enterprise approaches to meet social needs and strengthen local communities.)
Invited by British Council and China Social Entrepreneur Foundation, VA conducted interim evaluations for five start-up social enterprises, who were sponsored by the 2009 “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” programme. VA evaluated whether the projects are on track comparing to their original business plan, core capability bottlenecks that SEs are facing and opportunities for BC and CSEF to better assist them.
VA kicked off P2P(peer to peer) student loan project - invited by Fuping School, VA has surveyed and interviewed 500 students in Ningxia, Sichuan and Yunnan, and 500 potential lenders in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Going forward, VA will lay out business plan and start piloting out P2P service from September.
VA launched VA Fellowship Program - VA will recruit Project Fellows from top China universities and fortune 500 companies to join VA’s evaluation and consulting projects. Leo Xu (BCG) and Maggie Lou (Tsinghua Univ.) joined FP program as our first Fellows.
VA started evaluation and consulting services for One Foundation’s 8 2009 Philanthropy Grant recipients. VA evaluated all Grant recipients’ project proposals, and supported revision of the implementation planning. All evaluation work was completed in April.
VA’s Managing Director, Mr. Robin Zhang was invited to present on “NGO development – transparency and investing” in China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).
VA started evaluation of both progress and impact for 8 recipients of One Foundation’s 2008 Philanthropy Grants.
“Giving Solar Light - Lighting Up Hope” pilot successfully concluded in Meigu County, Liangshan Prefecture. Total 150 poor families who have lived in darkness in nights received free solar lights and night school training (healthcare, Chinese language and livelihood skills).
VA was invited to attend One Foundation's 2009 Philanthropy Grant as special guests.
VA’s Managing Director, Mr. Robin Zhang met Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and former United Nation Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan during the United Nation Foundation conference in Beijing.
VA formed strategic partnership with “Liangshan Woman and Children Support Center”.
VA’s Managing Director, Mr. Robin Zhang was invited to be the “Advisor” for Jet Li’s One Foundation.
Strategic partnership with D-light.
Strategic partnership with One Foundation.
Joined Skoll Forum.
Strategic partnership with Qiang Embroidery Aid Center.
First project Qiang Embroidery Aid Center