Last year, Charles Selestine launched the TSIC franchise in Qatar, through YAZ Consultancy, a Doha based firm. Originally from Malaysia, Charles will bring TSIC’s expertise to the country, and help the social sector develop and become more effective at delivering social impact.
What led you to the social impact sector?
Even though Charles started his career in more traditional financial spheres, social investment has been on his mind for a long time. His interest emerged at a young age when he read an article in the Reader’s Digest about ethical banking and realised the potential of social finance to be a force for good. This idea stayed with him as he was working in financial services and wealth management, including in an Islamic bank, where he was able to observe the functioning of diverse types of finance and how they diverge from an impact-driven one.
Many years later, he decided to give priority to its interest in social change. He started gathering experiences in the social sector through volunteering and work opportunities. Convinced that everyone should have a chance to reach full potential, he worked for Wedu, a leadership development organisation for select young women in Asia, which also supports them by providing innovative means of financing higher education (“Talent is universal, Opportunity is not”). He also served as a Kiva Fellow in the financial inclusion field (“Musings on Microfinance“).
Tell us more about the franchise in Qatar
With his newly acquired expertise, he started looking for a way to help the social sector further. The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC) came up after a quick google search. TSIC’s extensive experience and robust methodologies were sufficient to trigger his interest and, a few months later, he visited the office in London. The fact that TSIC’s franchise structure was already in place – and working well – eased his decision to launch a franchise, through YAZ Consultancy.
With a GDP per capita of USD 63,505 in 2017 according to the World Bank, Qatar ranks among the 10 richest countries in the world. There is a significant amount of money going into social impact programs, targeted both at the population within the country and abroad – primarily through the Qatar Fund for Development and Qatar Foundation. The recent commitment to fund the UN with USD 500 million and host 4 new UN offices in Qatar is one example of the country’s engagement in social impact.
However, while social investment and development funding are growing, Charles observed that a lack of awareness of innovative solutions and newer developments in the field, was hindering the development of the sector. “I see myself as a bridge to bring expertise to the social sector in Qatar, and to channel back learnings from Qatar – especially on Islamic social finance practices,” says Charles to describe the franchise’s positioning. In this context, the services of the franchise are likely to have an enormous impact.
TSIC has had a presence in the Gulf for the past five years, and we are very excited about the launch of the Qatar franchise. Please contact [email protected] if you’d like to know more.