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.”