Impact Finance Korea to bring private capital to social spending gap



South Korea is getting its first big taste of impact investing.

Former deputy prime minister and finance minister Lee Hun Jai is launching a private impact investing firm to raise 200 billion won ($179 million) to focus on small businesses and low-income entrepreneurs.

Impact Finance Korea aims to raise $63 million this year. Lee, who resigned from government in 2005, says this year’s public budget of $115 billion for healthcare, employment and other social issues does not fully address the country’s needs.

Private finance in South Korea continues to be strictly profit-driven. Lee’s goal is to “prove that the economy and society can become more stable through pioneering [a] new financial sector that funds work for the society.”

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