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AC Ventures’ Helen Wong advocates for more investment in Indonesia’s female founders and VCs

Published on September 5, 2023

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Helen Wong, Managing Partner at Indonesia’s leading early-stage venture capital firm AC Ventures (ACV), recently addressed regional policymakers and prominent business leaders at the Women’s CEO Forum at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Jakarta, an official sideline event of the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit (ABIS) 2023

The ASEAN chairmanship under Indonesia’s leadership aims to make Southeast Asia a stable and peaceful region that upholds international law and human values while maintaining internal peace, and centrality. ASEAN as an organization aims to establish the region as a fast-growing, inclusive, and sustainable economic powerhouse. As the bloc’s single largest market, Indonesia represents around 40% of ASEAN’s economy at large.  

Helen took the stage at the Women’s CEO Forum to share her insights with an audience comprising policymakers, investors, and prominent private sector leaders. She emphasized the compelling economic rationale behind backing women entrepreneurs in Indonesia, but also local female venture capitalists. Helen explained that the archipelago, home to more than 64 million MSMEs—accounting for 98% of all businesses in the nation—is a fertile ground for venture capital investment. These MSMEs significantly contribute over 61% to the local economy. Over half of these enterprises are women-owned, which AC Ventures identifies as an annual investment opportunity worth over US$421 billion.

“In a market as vibrant as Indonesia’s, women entrepreneurs are not just fulfilling a social role; they are key economic drivers. Our research indicates that investing in women-led businesses is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Helen. “Given that these businesses contribute significantly to the local economy – and keep it resilient during times of crisis such as the pandemic – we’re looking at an untapped yearly opportunity worth hundreds of billions of dollars. As such, we need more female investors who understand this and are willing to take concerted action to back more female founders.”

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AC Ventures has a strong track record of being at the forefront of supporting female tech founders and women-owned MSMEs in the ASEAN region. The firm is a paragon of diversity, with a 50:50 gender-balanced team and 41% female leadership across its investment portfolio. These metrics are not just arbitrary numbers but reflect the firm’s core ethos of promoting an equitable business environment for a better future in Indonesia.

Helen said, “In our journey at AC Ventures, we’ve learned that diversity isn’t a buzzword; it’s a business imperative. A balanced team brings diverse perspectives, leading to smarter investment decisions and more robust portfolio performance.”

During the event, Helen Wong called upon fellow investors and policymakers to take actionable steps in supporting female investors. The firm is setting the bar high for inclusivity and diversity and aims to influence the broader investment community to recognize the untapped potential in women-led enterprises.

By aligning its investment strategy with the impressive potential of women-led businesses, AC Ventures seeks to catalyze economic growth while fostering a more equitable and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Indonesia and the ASEAN region at large.

Learn more about ACV’s impact here: https://acv.vc/about/our-impact/

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