Impact investing

What are the impact investing and social entrepreneurship?

Supporting and developing a wide range of projects over 8 years, we felt the spirit of social investments and power of partnership. These factors define our current development vector. Nowadays, in the community of the Nazarbayev University, there are true leaders willing to extend their influence far beyond its limits. They are capable to contribute into resolving society’s problems through entrepreneurship projects with impact on social changes; and, the Fund is ready to support them.

Over the years of work, we gained a huge experience in evaluation, launch, financial and expert support of the NU communities’ projects including socially oriented projects. Now is the time to scale it up and extend into the world for the benefit of society and the whole country. For this reason, the Fund gives start to the development of new activity – impact investing.

Impact investing refers to investing of impact or investment itself aimed at social changes. Social entrepreneurship projects are the objects of impact investment.

Social entrepreneurship involves an activity implemented with a purpose to resolve specific social issues or create benefits for the society. The forms of social entrepreneurship may be different, but they all have in common an intention to create high social added value through business methods.

Social entrepreneurship implies a balance of social mission and commercial component. However, now money is not the goal, but means of achieving a social impact making it possible for the entrepreneur to stay sound and independent.

Social impact investments support the projects aimed at positive changes in socially significant areas through the use of entrepreneurial tools and innovative approach. Along with achieving financial result, their primary goal is a measurable social impact on society.

Criteria of projects’ selection for the Fund’s impact investing

The Fund intends to finance the projects meeting the following criteria of impact investing:

•      achieving maximum level of social impact;

•      measurability of the impact;

•      management consistent with Sustainable Development Goals;

•      pursuit of financial gain (at the same time, ROI may be below the market).

Priority will be given to the projects related to the Nazarbayev University, with long-term prospect of existence and aimed at scaling. For such projects, the Fund is ready to be a foundation of further sustainable growth.

Global market of impact investing

According to Global Impact Investing Network, global market of impact investing is estimated at $715 billion and grows at 29% annually. In the meanwhile, 88% of impact investors are satisfied with financial performance of their contributions or gained more profit than expected.

Impact investments enable the collaboration of high yield and high values; so that investment decisions made today ensure happy tomorrow.

Proactivity of foundations and organizations dedicating themselves to the development of social entrepreneurship contributed to popularization of new phenomenon in the society. The most famous ones are Ashoka Foundation, Schwab Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation.

Ashoka Foundation ( is an international non-profit organization involved in search and support of social innovations leaders. Started in 1981 in the USA, today Ashoka operates in 87 countries. As for now, more than 3,000 foundation members all over the world contributed to the fight against poverty, improvement of educational system and fair access to education, improvement of health care system, transparency increase of government bodies’ activities and deepening of society integration.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship ( is a Swiss not-for-profit organization established to support and finance individuals and organizations operating in social entrepreneurship area. It was founded in 1998 to support the global community of outstanding social entrepreneurs. Its purpose is to develop social entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurs as an important catalyst for social innovations and progress.

Rockefeller Foundation ( established long ago in 1913 remains one of the leaders among the most important and powerful non-governmental organizations in the world. Rockefeller Foundation is a promoter of establishment and main sponsor of Global Impact Investing Network (2009), American non-commercial organization, unifying global players of social impact investment market. The Foundation is focused on four main commitments: to end energy poverty, achieve health for all, nourish the world, and expand economic opportunity.


So, nowadays, investing in common future is a mainstream taken up by a growing number of global players.

The Nazarbayev University Social Development Fund intends to contribute to awareness raising and development of impact investing trend in local social and business environment.


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