Jennifer is the founder and CEO of IISLA Ventures, a social impact advisory firm with a vision of sustainable prosperity for people in rural communities. Splitting her time between London and Manila, she has a wealth of global experiences in investment banking, management consultancy, angel investing and entrepreneurship, and passion for good food and immersive travel in remote destinations.
Prior to setting up IISLA, which stands for Inclusive Investments in Sustainable Livelihood & Aspirations, she held investment advisory roles in companies and NGOs and had valued several IPOs, private placements and hotel transactions across Europe and Asia. In 2009, she founded IISLA to facilitate investments in tourism-related ventures with a vision to create livelihood in rural destinations.
Jennifer also became an impact angel investor and entrepreneur with focus on businesses that create livelihood and that connect people to rural communities. She invested and became temporary CEO of Inspired Ventures (IVL), a UK travel tech platform that connects adventurous travelers to remote destinations and that enables them to fund small social projects on the ground. Under her stewardship, IVL became the 99th UK company to have been granted the B-Corporation status: a certification that the company is a force for good in the business world.
Her passion for good food and her vision of rural community development anchored on sustainable tourism destination led her to invest in ethical and healthy food production. She is the first angel investor in Milestone, an award-winning and pioneering brand of olive oil in Greece aimed at the wellness market; in Aduna, an award-winning UK social enterprise that created the market for the African-sourced superfood Baobab in healthy snacks; co-founded and invested in CalaBoo, the Philippine dairy company that produces high-quality butter and cheeses from water buffalo (carabao) milk. She was also the co-creator of the first Philippine Sustainable Gastronomy, an annual event and platform for smallholder farmers, chefs and food processors/innovators to gather and help embed sustainability in every step of the food value chain.
Her focus on these sectors is driven by her background: Jennifer grew up in rural Philippines and abject poverty forced her mother to leave to work in the UK when she was 8 years old. Thus, her personal mission is to help stem migration from rural communities to crowded cities or abroad by helping create livelihoods and give people, like her mother, the option to stay at home. She believes that if people in remote places live their dreams and aspirations without leaving their homes and families, many of the social and environmental challenges we face today could be avoided, if not eradicated.