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GroFin, shortlisted for Finance for the Future Awards 2018

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2018
We are excited and proud to announce that GroFin has been nominated as a finalist for the ICAEW & Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) - Finance for the Future Awards 2018 - in the 'Building Sustainable Financial Products' category.

GroFin was shortlisted in the Building Sustainable Financial Products, which recognises organisations that create sustainable business products that are financially sustainable.

GroFin entered this prestigious award to share the achievements of the GroFin Model – an integrated solution of finance and business support to small and growing businesses. The application of this model through the Small Growing Business (SGB) Fund has sustained over 37,000 jobs in Africa since its launch in 2014.

Guido Boysen, GroFin CEO, said: “We are thrilled to be a finalist in the Finance for the Future Awards. This achievement is thanks to the support of our investors, partners and staff. The nomination is an endorsement of our efforts to support and grow SMEs across our 11 countries of operations in Africa.”

Tags:  ANTHOS  Calvert Impact Capital  CDC  DFID  DGGF  FINFUND  FMO  International Finance Corporation  Mastercard Foundation  Omidyar Network  Open Society Foundations - Soros Economic Developm  Rockefeller Foundation  Shell Foundation  Skoll  Triple Jump  USAID 

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SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©

Posted By Robert Webster, SEAF, Monday, August 27, 2018

SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©


Washington, D.C. (August 27, 2018)


SEAF, the emerging market impact investing firm, has announced the launch of its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard (“GES”), which will be a vital tool to support the promotion and achievement of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in SEAF’s global investments.  The GES is initially being piloted in SEAF’s investments in Southeast Asia and it is expected to be used eventually across SEAF’s world-wide, impact investing platform.


Jennifer Buckley, SEAF Senior Managing Director, stated, “SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard is launched with the conviction that those firms that realize internal gender equality in terms of compensation, leadership and other factors are superior financial performers and powerful drivers of women’s economic empowerment.  In this way, SEAF sees enormous potential in using the GES to create shared value for women, investors and entrepreneurs.”


SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard will assess potential and existing SEAF investees on gender equality, scoring across six key gender equality vectors:  pay equity, leadership and governance, workforce participation, benefits and professional development, workplace environment, and women-powered value chains.  These assessments will identify opportunities to improve gender equality and hence guide SEAF’s critical post-investment value creation work.


The Scorecard was born out of SEAF’s current gender lens investing initiative, the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund.  This Fund was launched in partnership with the Investing in Women (“IW”) initiative of the Australian government and focuses on women-led/owned businesses in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.  The Criterion Institute, the gender lens investing think tank and an IW partner, has played a critical role in GES’ development.


“SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard represents an exciting and innovative development to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the impact investing space,” explained Joy Anderson, President and Founder, Criterion Institute. “We are delighted to partner with SEAF and look forward to the GES’ continued development and influence.”


Bob Webster, SEAF Managing Director, said, “The Gender Equality Scorecard is the next key step in our gender lens investing journey and we look forward to working with our partners, including future stakeholders such as asset managers and academic institutions, in assessing its validity and improving it over time.  After its pilot use in the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund, its use will be expanded to SEAF’s next generation of gender lens investing initiatives, which are currently under development.”

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Tags:  creating shared value  emerging market  financial inclusion  gender equality  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive business  innovation  womenCreating Shared Value  women's economic empowerment 

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FINCA International Launches FINCA Ventures, an Early-Stage Impact Investor

Posted By Michael Leen, FINCA International, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ANDE Member and global microfinance pioneer FINCA International has announced the launch of FINCA Ventures, an impact investing platform that provides patient capital and pre- and post-investment support to help early-stage social enterprises achieve growth and scale.

FINCA Ventures aims to accelerate the growth of social enterprises developing goods that align with FINCA’s charitable mission, thus fostering a market for affordable, high-quality and life-improving products and services for low-income families.

Over the past 18 months, FINCA Ventures has invested in six social enterprises serving emerging market customers, including Amped Innovation, BioLite, Eneza Education, Good Nature Agro, Ignitia and Sanivation. The investment profile for FINCA Ventures spans energy, WASH, education, health, agriculture and fintech, with a geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information, visit

or contact and


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Tags:  ANDE Members  BOP  impact investing  social enterprise 

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Why Iraq makes a compelling case for Impact Investments

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In December 2017, Iraq confirmed it had defeated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, three years after the jihadi group swept through the country, seizing some of its largest cities and wreaking havoc on the local population.

Now, authorities estimate Iraq needs nearly US$90 billion to restore the country that has been reeling under the impact of occupation by the ISIS. While the 10-year reconstruction plan will cost US$88.2 billion, at least a quarter, US$22 billion, is required immediately.

Of this, Iraqi officials state that at least US$17 billion will go toward rebuilding homes. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone. A major city in northern Iraq, Mosul was affected most deeply by ISIS extremists who devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure, displacing millions of people.

GroFin Iraq Client - Basra Driving Institute

And the turmoil in Mosul is just the tip of the iceberg. Across the nation, the war against the ISIS displaced more than 5 million people – of which less than half have returned to their hometowns in Iraq. Moreover, more than 4 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance with 3 million unable to regularly attend school in Iraq, according to UNICEF statistics. As many as one in four Iraqi children live in poverty in the nation of 37 million.

Also, as OPEC’s second-largest crude producer and home to the world’s fifth-largest known reserves, Iraq needs up to US$7 billion to repair its oil and gas fields as it is currently struggling to pay the international firms running them. Against this backdrop, the Middle East as a whole, especially countries like Kuwait whose deep pockets rely on oil production, have taken a hit in recent years as energy prices crashed and only recently began regaining ground.

Given the enormity of the humanitarian and economic crisis that is threatening to engulf the Middle East as a whole, governments from around the world have pledged billions of dollars in loans and investment for the reconstruction of Iraq. Indeed, Iraq secured nearly US$25 billion in investment and credit during an international donors’ conference in Kuwait City, with Britain and Turkey leading the charge.

While some observers question the rationale for investment instead of aid, it cannot be denied that having a long-term stake in Iraq – as is implied by an investment over a prolonged period of time – promises sustained and targeted engagement and interest in the country. Long-term investments are most certainly the need of the hour, with schools, sanitation and basic health care all sorely needed in areas devastated by the ISIS.

Such infrastructure projects could well be undertaken by private sector companies, backed by the World Bank or external donors. Indeed, to support rebuilding efforts in Iraq by attracting investors, World Bank officials have been pointing to legal guarantees available in post-ISIS Iraq, courtesy an investment law that offers ownership, unlimited cash transfers and tax breaks, among other benefits.

GroFin Iraq Client - Al Majal Technical Services (AMTS)

However, officials acknowledge a feeling of fatigue from international donors, especially since the ISIS occupation has sparked the biggest mass migration since World War II. Moreover, ennui has set in, as this is the second time in less than two decades that Iraq has turned to the international investor community and government allies for support in nation rebuilding, the last time being the aftermath of the 2003 war.

At this critical juncture, Iraq needs a concerted focus to rebuild the nation by raising funds from right-minded and long-term investors in a manner that is sustainable and inclusive. It is here that impact investors, with their sense of mission, emphasis on blended returns instead of purely financial returns, and focus on developing vital needs sectors such as schools, hospitals and energy, have an important role to play.

Within the impact investing arena, pioneering organisations such as GroFin that have an entrenched presence in the Middle East, can lead the way for the investor community as a whole. GroFin’s dedicated Nomou Iraq Fund supports 81 local entrepreneurs and has extended funding of US$ 4.9 mn to 9 homegrown SMEs that sustain a total of 657 jobs and support 3,285 livelihoods per annum (all figures as at end of 2017). Moreover, Nomou Iraq’s finance and support touches many lives at the base of the pyramid (BoP), with 46% of all employees at investee SMEs comprising low-to-semi-skilled workers, while 700 customers served per annum belong to BoP households.

Ultimately, impact investments are the need of the hour for Iraq as the war-torn nation grapples with an uncertain future in the absence of the required funding to build basic infrastructure for its residents, currently counting as many as 3 million internally displaced persons. If you are an investor seeking to make a difference in the Middle East, GroFin Iraq would be happy to partner with you and enable you to reach out to local entrepreneurs whose businesses are generating employment at scale and touching multiple lives.

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Funding Opportunity: Solicitation for New Agricultural Partnerships (SNAP) in Cambodia

Posted By Mark Sevier, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is now accepting applications from private sector firms in response to its Solicitation for New Agricultural Partnerships (SNAP) in Cambodia.

Partnering for Innovation will provide funding on behalf of USAID/Cambodia by developing shared-value partnerships with private sector companies selling high-quality inputs and services to small, medium, and/or large-scale farmers. The partnerships, which will benefit both the business and its farmer customers, will be designed to develop Cambodia’s agricultural sector and spur economic growth by introducing or scaling commercial products and services that increase farmer productivity. 

For-profit businesses, including domestic and international businesses registered in Cambodia, are invited to submit an application. Applications are due by September 14, 2018. 

To learn more, review requirements, and apply, please click here!

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Need help on an impact investing question? Work with Duke MBA students this year

Posted By Carrie Gonnella, The Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke, Thursday, July 19, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018

The CASE i3 Consulting Practicum (CASE i3CP) offers your organization the opportunity to engage with a team of carefully selected MBA students from Duke University on an impact investing question you are currently addressing.  You benefit from the passion, fresh perspective, independence, and technical expertise our students bring to the CASE i3CP.  Our students benefit from the opportunity to apply their academic learning to an of-the-moment issue in the impact investing space.

How it works:  We select 5 to 7 impact investing-related projects annually and match each client with a select team of Duke University Fuqua School of Business MBA students.  Teams spend on average 400 person-hours researching, analyzing, and making actionable recommendations that they incorporate into client deliverables.  Teams work remotely with you and are directly supervised by Cathy Clark, Duke faculty member and Director of CASE i3.

Previous clients and projects:  We're proud to have a 100% client satisfaction rate over the last 3 years.  Some of our 30+ previous clients include Calvert Impact Capital, World Economic Forum, Investors' Circle, SJF Ventures, Mercy Corps, Big Path Capital, and more.  You can read a Q&A with one of last year's clients, Quantified Ventures, here.  Some of our past projects have related to investment landscaping, impact assessment, product formation, and deal and industry diligence.

Final student deliverables remain confidential to the client, but a few of our clients have already gone public with the work our students did for them.  You can find a blog post by SJF Ventures here and from Investors' Circle's PCC fund here.

We're thrilled with the responses we've received from clients:  

  • “The CASE i3 Team was a dream to work with.  They were curious, diligent, and rigorous in their research and analysis – always ensuring that the work would be helpful and relevant to our organization in the long run.” – Calvert Impact Capital
  •  “We benefited greatly from the CASE i3 team’s diverse skill set and self-directed approach in analyzing opportunities for expansion.”  – Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund

How to apply:  Applications are open until August 31, 2018 to work with our MBA students over the 2018-2019 academic year.  To find more information on the work timeline and the online application, click here.  Email Carrie Gonnella at with any questions.

Tags:  Access to Finance  capacity development  education  finance  impact investing  impact investment  MBA  mentoring 

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Defining Financial Exclusion: why we need to focus on the problem, not just the solution

Posted By Lexi Doolittle, Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund, Thursday, July 19, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018

There’s a lot of discussion on financial inclusion, the value of the bringing an individual into the fold of the formal financial system, and the potential benefits of that inclusion. However, there is little discussion on what it actually means to be financially excluded and how, because of this exclusion, the lives of the working poor, their communities, and entire institutional systems are more insecure, costly, and constricted. 

This new article from S3IDF engages with the lived realities of financial exclusion with the intention of driving a movement where various stakeholders collectively create an intelligent foundation on which we can develop replicable pathways towards sustainable financial inclusion for more stable, affordable, fruitful livelihoods for the financially excluded, their families and their communities.



Tags:  Access to Finance  capacity development  Entrepreneurship  finance  India  Private sector development  Social entrepreneurship 

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5 steps you can take today to start measuring your business impact

Posted By Nazila Vali, Business Call to Action at UNDP, Monday, July 16, 2018

How to start measuring the impact of your business to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

By Rabayl Mirza, Impact Management Specialist at the Business Call to Action 

Shea nut worker, Burkina Faso. Credit: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR
Impact measurement can be challenging if you have never done it before and don’t know where to start. Even the savviest professionals sometimes find it hard to choose between various tools, methodologies and frameworks available. Truth is, knowing what impact you’re making doesn’t have to be complicated. We have identified a few simple things anyone can do to kickstart impact measurement:

1. Write down your goals and put them up so you can refer to them every day. Having specific, measurable goals visible serves as a daily reminder to you and your team about what you’re working towards. Integrating your goals with the Sustainable Development Goals as a first step is a practical way to chart your progress towards the global agenda. 

Define your beneficiaries. Saying your project helps women and children is not enough. Identifying the exact demographic and profile is a critical step towards quantifying impact. It is especially important to get feedback on your impact from your beneficiaries and to not make any assumptions. L’Occitane, an inclusive business, worked with BCtA as part of the BIMS (BCtA Impact Measurement Services) to learn more about the women farmers they source their shea butter from. The specific insights emerging from that process about the needs of their beneficiaries helped them make their engagement more impactful. Read their case study

Give yourself a deadline. Breaking down targets into short term and long term is valuable so you can keep track of progress over time and know what needs to be prioritized. Aligning your targets with the SDG targets positions your efforts globally and helps communicate your impact clearly to your stakeholders.

Find out what your peers are doing. Research similar business models, get in touch with relevant experts in the field, and apply best practices where appropriate. The BIMS case studies, for example, represent a great source of information about the impact measurement journey of 21 inclusive businesses. 

Sign-up for the Lab! The Business Call to Action has developed an online lab, which takes you through 4 integrated modules to assess your readiness for impact measurement, define your goals and plans, monitor your impact data, and finally, analyze impact data and report your results. Signing up takes a minute and you can keep coming back to refine, review and update your impact measurement plans.  

Tags:  Africa  impact  impact management  impact measurement  inclusive business  inclusive innovation 

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Measuring what really matters

Posted By Nicolás Díaz Ferro, BBVA, Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Following up on prior work, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation has published its 2017 Social Performance Report.

The results continue to be encouraging: more than 80% of new clients served are in economic vulnerability,  which reflects BBVAMF Group’s permanent commitment to serve vulnerable entrepreneurs. 

In addition, clients’ businesses continue to grow consistently over time: their net incomes grow at an average yearly rate of 16% and their assets 24%.

However, for low-income entrepreneurs, income levels are as important as stability over time. Entrepreneurs served by the Group are frequently exposed to variations in their economic status which may result in their entering and coming out of poverty more than once. 50% remain in their economic vulnerability segment (they are stable), while 22% cross the poverty line at least twice (they are volatile) and 23% overcome poverty. Precarity and instability are intrinsic to their situation: they are more exposed to shocks and to the idiosyncrasies of the markets where they operate. 

BBVAMF supports and contributes to the development of these vulnerable entrepreneurs’ skillset, so that they can make good progress, improving their current and future standard of living through their productive work and effort. All the merit of any success the clients may have in their endeavors, however small, is entirely theirs.

However, there  is great potential to continue advancing in the understanding of the performance of the vulnerable entrepreneur to better address their needs. These factors are critical to keep up the success in fulfilling the Group's mission.

The ultimate goal is for these people’s progress to be sustainable and as broad and wide-ranging as possible, having an impact on the various dimensions of their economic and social development. The Microfinance Foundation recognizes the magnitude of the challenge that poverty alleviation and financial inclusion mean. In recognition of this challenge, numerous actors must be involved, and joint public and private efforts need to be made.

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation was set up in 2007 by BBVA, as part of its corporate social responsibility to use its more than 150 years of experience to support vulnerable people with productive activities to improve their lives.

It has consolidated a Group of six microfinance institutions that serve over 1.9 million people in five different countries (Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Chile and Panama).

The Group’s gross portfolio is USD 1.1 billion and it signed off more than USD 10 billion in loans to vulnerable entrepreneurs (2007-2017). With over 500 offices and 8,000 employees, it has become a philanthropic institution with one of the greatest social impacts in Latin America, the first operator with proprietary methodology in the region.

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Impact Investing: Where are the Women?

Posted By Reuben Coulter, Transformational Business Network, Thursday, June 21, 2018

Only 7% of applicants were female - that's crazy!!

Over the past month I've been advertising for an Investment Director to lead our impact investing portfolio. To date, we've received 52 applications and only 4 of those were women - that's 7%. Where are all the female investors?

The opportunity

This is a major problem for impact investing which seeks to create economic and social transformation. Investors who are predominantly male will have an inherent bias and so may fail to engage with this enormous opportunity. Research in the US showed that male venture capitalists were much more likely to invest in male founders and it's unlikely to be any different in the impact space.

The opportunity is enormous. Consider the following:

  • Credit gap: Women SME’s worldwide face a $320 billion shortfall in access to credit despite women anecdotally having lower non-performing loan rates than men.
  • A multi-trillion dollar opportunity: According to a McKinsey study, closing the gender labor gap could add $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP in 2025.
  • The world’s largest emerging market: The female economy represents a market more than ­twice the size of India and China combined. By 2028, female consumers will control around $15 trillion of global consumer spending.
  • Our portfolio of purpose-driven entrepreneurs in Africa is currently 54% womenand we have found them more willing to work collaboratively to tackle social issues.

One piece of good news to emerge from the G7 (which you may have missed with all the Trump furore), is that their Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) have proposed a bold commitment to the 2X Challenge: Financing for Women to mobilise investment in the world’s women.

How can we address this issue?

For this commitment and impact investment in general to succeed we must nurture more female investors. I'd love your suggestions on how we can do this and who is already pioneering. Please include in the comments section below.

NB: We're Hiring!

If you know a fantastic female Investment Director then please let her know about our vacancy at TBN. Closing date 27th June.


Tags:  impact investing  Women 

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