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Pact Ventures Launches Revamped Impact Investment Group

Posted By Katie Hallaran, Pact, Monday, December 10, 2018

Pact is excited to announce the launch of its revamped social investment team – Pact Ventures. Pact Ventures believes that markets and private capital can be incentivized to accelerate Pact’s development programs. We structure innovative financing and market-based mechanisms to magnify Pact’s social impact.

Through technical experience in investment banking, private equity, strategy, and social entrepreneurship, we’re integrating private sector perspectives to create tri-sector solutions for complex development challenges by leveraging public, private, and social capital.

Leading with a clean sheet approach, Pact Ventures accesses a wide spectrum of innovative financial and investment vehicles to finance our projects, deliberately matching outcomes risk with financial return. We leverage our impact investments to shift our relationship from donor-beneficiary to provider-customer. In so doing, we tap into economic forces to create market mechanisms that listen and adapt to the voices of our beneficiaries (now customers) in new, empowering ways through:

Outcomes-based and shared value partnerships:

  • Market-based incentives for responsible and traceable sourcing of minerals and gems
  • Access to bottom of the pyramid (BoP) financial products for community-based savings and loans groups

Direct investments in promising social enterprises:

  • Investment in solar home system manufacturer targeting BoP consumers
  • Joint venture with alternative BoP credit scoring and digital distribution services

Innovative business and delivery models for impact:

  • Distribution of solar home system partners to bring renewable energy to Pact’s beneficiaries
  • Workforce development platform for skills-based training and job placement 

We’d love to explore opportunities to collaborate and invite anyone interested in learning more to reach out to Brian Vo at bvo@pactworld.org.

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Tags:  Access to Finance  energy  health  impact investing  innovative finance  social enterprise  social impact 

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The “Missing Middle” is More Complicated

Posted By Heather Soehn, Upaya Social Ventures, Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

 

In our industry of impact investing, there has long been a lament that small and growing businesses (SGBs) are the “missing middle” of the space—these are the companies that are too large for microfinance funding and too small for traditional investors or even most impact investors. The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs defines this space as companies seeking to raise between $20,000 and $2M US with between five and 250 employees.

The conversation has been going on for years, first defined with great clarity in the Monitor and Acumen Fund study, “From Blueprint to Scale” in 2012.  Upaya’s Sachi Shenoy picked up the issue of a “pioneering capital gap with Brian Arbogast in 2013 and then revisited it with our board member, Nathan Byrd, earlier this year. A common theme of all this investigation is that while the potential for impact can be huge in this space, investing here requires patience, capacity building and a lot of risk.

Upaya invests exactly in the “missing middle” and for years we have felt—If not completely alone—pretty lonely.  We invest to create jobs for the extreme poor, which gives us a very particular approach to enterprise selection. While there has been much discussion, there have not been dramatic shifts to address the gaps. Players are entering the space but there is still a $930 billion financing gap. What is going on?

“This Missing Middles,” a report commissioned by the newly-created Collaborative for Frontier Finance dissects this segment with much greater granularity than ever before. It has not been helpful to talk about a financing gap for these kinds of companies because “these” kinds of companies are quite diverse.  The report helpfully breaks them down into four groupings:

  • High Growth – Disruptive business models that could be tech-led, asset-light, growing at 66% in the CFF study.
  • Niche – Innovative products or services targeting niche markets
  • Dynamic Enterprises – “Bread and butter” businesses (trading, manufacturing, etc.) that have moderate growth and scale potential but significant livelihood impact
  • Livelihood Sustaining – Sustainable businesses that may have outgrown microenterprise and are supporting families with incremental growth

This report resonates with us so well because conversations with other seed stage or early stage impact investors sometimes remind us that “one of these things is not like the other.”

Upaya looks for companies that can be sustainable job-producers that return our investment, preferably with some upside. It’s not that we lack the ambition or focus of other early investors who are looking for “rocket ships” or “massive scale.” It’s that we know our market. The “Dynamic Enterprise” group is a very good description of many of the companies that we see and want to help reach 1,000+ sustainable jobs.

In what might be a surprise, the high growth ventures are generally on a trajectory to create fewer jobs due to their business model. So we wish them well, along with our colleagues who invest in them, but they’re less interesting to us unless there’s strong job creation. (As an aside, these are also the kinds of businesses that directly refute Mulago Foundation’s Kevin Starr’s post in the Stanford Social Innovation Review from August. The only key to poverty alleviation is not making sure that the companies that provide goods and services to the poor can scale; starting with a reliable job and income is a more direct assault on poverty, even if it comes in 1000-person increments.)

What this study does so well is explain why the “missing middle” has felt stuck for so long. It’s not that there’s not enough interest in funding these companies. It’s that we need to be more creative in our approach. There is no one financing solution for these different kinds of enterprises. So many impact-driven organizations, including Upaya, are making fairly straight-forward equity investments. In fact, the typical venture style equity investment doesn’t fit well with any of these groups. Even the high growth ventures, which account for only 1% of the segment, are likely to need longer time horizons than closed-ended funds provide.

Upaya had already started exploring what investment alternatives are available to us as a foreign investor in India, but this report gives us renewed energy. It also underscores that what we do really matters. There are not enough impact investors focusing on the “bread and butter” businesses that are the “backbone of local economies and are important sources of jobs for low- and moderate-skilled workers.”  Hopefully, with a better understanding of the environment we’re working in, investors can all be more successful in achieving our impact goals by better serving the entrepreneurs in our portfolios.

 

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This piece was written by Kate Cochran, CEO of Upaya Social Ventures and was originally posted on the Upaya Social Ventures blog.

Tags:  impact investing  Job Creation  missing middle  Pioneering Capital  Social entrepreneurship  social impact 

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Chipping Away at the MSME Financing Gap

Posted By Emma Marks, Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund, Monday, November 5, 2018

MSMEs are widely regarded to be among the primary drivers of economic development, employment, and innovation in emerging economies. However, a disproportionate number of MSMEs face challenges accessing the financial services they require to cover their day-to-day operations and scale into robust, sustainable businesses. Often, they have needs that exceed microfinance ceilings, and they cannot access financial services through banks or similar providers without established credit histories, well-documented business records, or sufficient collateral. Likewise, traditional banks tend to overlook potential MSME clients due to actual and perceived risks, transaction costs, and a general lack of familiarity with pro-poor business models.

The latest article from S3IDF advocates for tools like loan guarantees as a means to addressing the root causes of financial exclusion. By having “skin in the game,” banks and other financing institutions are more likely to engage seriously with the assessment process in a manner that will leave them better positioned to finance similar deals in the future and to extend other financial products and services to other MSME clients.

Tags:  access to finance  emerging markets  inclusive innovation  missing middle  social impact 

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Need Help Identifying Your Organization’s Legal Needs? Find Out About TrustLaw’s Legal Health Check for Social Enterprises.

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Friday, October 19, 2018
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2018

Who we are? TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal program, connecting the best law firms and corporate legal teams around the world with high-impact NGOs and social enterprises working to create social and environmental change. We help produce groundbreaking legal research and offer innovative training courses worldwide. We also provide a legal training for social enterprises and impact investing that focuses on legal issues and trends in the burgeoning social innovation sector, and provides lawyers with the skills and knowledge they need to advise clients. We have supported grassroots organizations to employ their first staff members, helped vulnerable women access loans to start their first businesses and brought renewable energy lighting to slums. We are the largest global pro bono network with almost 5,000 members across more than 175 countries. We work with hundreds of legal teams representing over 120,000 lawyers who generously provide free legal support to thousands of NGOs and social enterprises.

What is the Legal Health Check and How Does it Work? Every year, TrustLaw receives and reviews hundreds of legal questions from our NGO and social enterprise members around the world and connects these organizations to pro bono lawyers who provide free expert advice and assistance. Drawing on our experience, TrustLaw has developed a Legal Health Check to assist NGOS and social enterprises identify some of their operational legal needs. While it includes the questions most frequently asked by our members, it is not a complete list of legal issues. The Legal Health Check will help you identify legal matters that are relevant to your organization and issues that you might need help with. Take a look at the Legal Health Check for more information here.

Interested in Becoming a Member of TrustLaw? If you would like to apply to become a member of TrustLaw, you can complete our application form on our website at http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/ and make sure to tell us that you are also an ANDE member!

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Tags:  Access to Finance  ANDE Members  ANDE publication  Impact investing  Legal Working Group  Pro Bono  social enterprise  Social entrepreneurship  social impact 

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Survey: Gender-lens Investing in LAC

Posted By Daniela Moctezuma, Value for Women, Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Are you an investor or organization supporting SGBs actively in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)? Please take 15 minutes to fill out the Value for Women survey on Gender-lens Investing in LAC, financed by the ANDE Catalyst Fund that seeks to provide investors, SGBs, and other ANDE members with a clear landscape of how impact investors use and see gender in their work. The survey will also serve as a way to identify best practices so please fill out and share your work with us!


Please fill out the Spanish language survey here before 11:59pm (Mexico City, Central Standard Time) on November 5th.


In case the link above does not work please click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V4WANDE

 
 If you have any questions, please write to Luis Márquez (lmarquez@v4w.org) with a copy to Daniela Moctezuma (dmoctezuma@v4w.org).

Thank you!

Tags:  ANDE Members  entrepreneurship ecosystems  impact investing  impact investment  Latin America  social entrepreneurship  social impact 

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GroFin - Transforming SGBs in Africa & the Middle East

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2018

Gain a deeper understanding of how GroFin, through its unique investment model in SGBs, is positively transforming small and growing businesses and the local communities they support. The inspiring success stories of its entrepreneurs exemplify the collaborative efforts of GroFin staff, investors, partners and clients. The 2017 GroFin Impact Report, Nomou Impact Report and Aspire Impact Report translates its faith in the power of the collective by asking the question “If not us, who? If not today, when? If not with our finance and support, how will these small businesses grow and succeed?”

2017 GroFin Impact Report

As at end 2017, GroFin has financed 675 small and growing businesses, supported 8,840 entrepreneurs, sustained a total of 86,190 jobs and touched the lives of 430,955 family members in the local communities across our 15 locations of operation in Africa and the Middle East. The report indicates that GroFin has made more investments in its priority sectors of education, healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing and key services. Furthermore, GroFin invested US$ 60M in nearly 88 new small and growing businesses, with over 50% of the SMEs operating directly in our sectors of focus, sustaining 14,000 total jobs and supporting an additional 72,000 livelihoods. And to reinforce its value proposition of providing 'support beyond finance' the company introduced the GroFin STEP (Success through Effective Partnerships) Programme to support its SMEs and Entrepreneurs.

2017 Nomou Impact Report

The Nomou Programme is a regional initiative in MENA which was co-created by GroFin and Shell Foundation. As a result of the collaborative efforts of its investors, partners and clients, the Nomou programme is contributing to the alleviation of poverty and improvement of livelihoods in the communities where the programme operates, as well as striving to reduce the adverse impact of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

In 2017, the Nomou Programme supported 1,005 entrepreneurs, made investments into 103 SGBs, sustained a total of 10,287 jobs, touched the lives of 51,435 beneficiaries and added economic value of US$ 149 million per annum through its investee SMEs across Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Oman.

2017 Aspire Impact Report

Since their inception in 2014, the Aspire Small Business Fund (ASBF) and the Aspire Growth Fund (AGF) have sought to promote local entrepreneurship, employment and economic value-add in the Niger Delta. With the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) as anchor investor, the Aspire Enterprise Development Funds epitomise GroFin, a private development finance institution, and SPDC’s efforts to serve the local community with a combination of investment funds, business skills and market linkages.

In 2017 GroFin increased its commitment to supporting SMEs in the Niger Delta Region by investing in an additional 17 small and growing businesses and extending further funding of US$ 2.5M (140% increase from total amount invested as at end 2016). As at end of 2017, GroFin has supported 365 businesses, invested in 53 SMEs and sustained a total of 1,975 jobs under the Aspire Funds.

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Tags:  2017  A Access to Finance  Access to Finance  Africa  Agriculture  ANDE Africa  ANDE Members  Base of the Pyramid  Business  business training  capacity development  DGGF  East Africa  education  finance  impact  impact investing  impact investing; gender lens investing; gender; w  impact investment  impact measurement  innovation  Investors  Kenya  MENA  missing middle  Philanthropy; impact investing  Private sector development  Rwanda  SDGs  SGB  SGBs  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  SGBs; West Africa; Senegal; Africa; MENA; Entrepre  small and growing agrobusiness  smes  social impact  South Africa  sustainability  sustainable development  Tanzania  Training  Uganda  West Africa 

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Webinar: What Does ‘Impact’ Mean to You?

Posted By Mia Haughton, Vera Solutions, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Live Webinar on Thursday, May 3rd at 10am (BST)

Every nonprofit is working towards making a positive change in some way, be it in the lives of individuals, our communities, or the world we live in. But how do you measure the impact of the good work you do?

Nonprofits who want to increase their mission’s reach need to define what success looks like to them so that they can measure it more effectively. Join us for a live panel discussion where three nonprofit trailblazers from different ends of the spectrum, each with their own unique insights and real-world experience on the topic, will answer the question: what does ‘impact’ mean to you?

Speakers:

Zak Kaufman, Co-Founder & CEO at Vera Solutions
Joanne Trotter, Global Lead, Results and Learning at the Aga Khan Foundation
Amanda Feldman, Director at The Impact Management Project

Don’t miss out, save your seat today >>>

 

Tags:  impact measurement  innovation  Performance Measurement  salesforce  social impact  webinar 

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SKOLL ECOSYSTEM EVENT - STREET BUSINESS SCHOOL

Posted By Amy Yanda-Lee, BeadforLife, Saturday, March 24, 2018

THE ART OF SOCIAL FRANCHISING * SKOLL WORLD FORUM - ECOSYSTEM EVENT

Thursday, April 12 - 4:00 PM @ The One Pub

There is growing interest in using social franchising in the global development sector as a means to scale:
• NGOs see franchising as a way to add proven program to their work without reinventing the wheel.
• Donors see franchising as a tool to reduce the costs of each group having to invent their own program.
• Groups/Organizations with a proven and scalable model use social franchising to develop an earned income stream to lessen their dependence on philanthropic funding.

Join us over a pint as we examine social franchising with a case study on how to scale impact of a program proven to alleviate poverty. Through aligned partnerships, Street Business School (SBS) shares how it has successfully scaled its proven model of entrepreneurial education for women living in poverty from Uganda to seven countries across East Africa within the past two years. This example of social franchising has operationalized through funder and NGO partnerships in which locally led organizations are joining a movement to achieve ambitious global impact.

Come with your questions, ideas and experience to this highly interactive session. We will rely on YOU, the audience, to ponder the challenges, surprises, and greatest opportunities that exist in social franchising. We will also hear from panelists who have experience using Street Business School’s franchise model to magnify their own impact. Panelists include:
• Segal Family Foundation CEO Andy Bryant who will share how Segal leverages the partnership with SBS to scale impact while supporting other Segal grantees and grassroots led organizations.
• Street Business School CEO Devin Hibbard who can speak to the strategy of social franchising and the execution of this specific case and these strategic partnerships.
• Dandelion Africa Executive Director Wendo Aszed who can speak to the franchise customization process as she is currently implementing SBS in Dandelion’s community as both a Segal grantee and an SBS Global Catalyst Partner (franchisee).
• Fourth panelist – to be announced at Skoll World Forum
• Moderator, Joahim Ewechu Street Business School Board member and Founder of Unreasonable Institute East Africa.

Refreshment and gifts provided at 4:00. Come early for a drink and chance to network. The panel will begin at 4:15. Thank you to Segal Family Foundation, Moxie Foundation and Street Business School for their fiscal sponsorship of this event.

 

Tags:  social enterprise  Social entrepreneurship  social impact 

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MDIF closes $6-million media impact fund

Posted By Peter Whitehead, Media Development Investment Fund, Tuesday, March 20, 2018
New York, March 19, 2018: Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) today announced final close of MDIF Media Finance I, a $6-million impact fund investing in independent news media in select emerging and frontier markets.

“We are delighted to have closed MMF I and ramp up financing for companies that provide the news, information and debate that people need to build open societies,” said Harlan Mandel, MDIF Chief Executive Officer. “MMF I loans will help build companies that expose corruption, hold governments to account and provide balanced coverage of elections.”

MMF I provides affordable debt to independent news companies in a range of countries where access to free and independent media is under threat. The fund will invest in companies in countries such as India, Ukraine, Bolivia and Lesotho.

MMF I notes pay 4% annual interest and, under a pioneering agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), MDIF and Sida provide investors with 55% first-loss protection. Sida also provides technical assistance grants to fund investees to build their management capacity.

MMF I investors include the Open Society Foundations (Soros Economic Development Fund), Dreilinden, a Dutch family office and Antonis Schwarz.

“MMF I will finance investments in software, equipment, content production, workspace, as well as working capital and short-term cash-flow needs – all vital for company growth,” said Mr. Mandel. “With the successful close of MMF I, we are now looking forward to launching MMF II later this year.”

About MDIF

MDIF is a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund for independent media in countries where independent media are under threat. It has 22 years’ experience of helping build quality news and information companies – print, digital and broadcast – in emerging markets. It has:

  • invested more than $166 million in 114 media companies
  • worked in 39 countries on 5 continents
  • a current portfolio of more than $60 million invested in over 50 media organizations

For more information, contact Peter Whitehead, MDIF Director of Communications, peterawhitehead@mdif.org, +44 7793050670.

Tags:  emerging markets  impact investing  impact investment  social business  social impact 

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AXiiS is closing the gap with 6 billion (USD) in assets under management ready for SMEs to access finance Today!

Posted By FAST International, Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade, Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Updated: Thursday, April 13, 2017
https://youtu.be/I4QvUzUwkxQ

About AXiiS:

Unique in its industry, Access and eXchange impact investment for Sustainability (AXiiS), is populated with local Financial Advisors based on their grounded work in the field with agriculture and forestry SMEs in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, ensuring sustainable investment ready cases.

Selected SMEs are profiled based on criteria ensuring their investment-readiness, while collecting relevant data on investment in agriculture and forestry sectors. It showcases blind profiles of SMEs and Financial Service Providers to ensure security and to enhance the matchmaking process.

To join or find out more, visit: www.axiis.ca

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Tags:  A Access to Finance  apps4africa  asset finance  banking  capacity development  climate resilience  emerging markets  Environment  environmental impact  finance  Global. Development  India; ANDE members  Investors  Latin America  news  nicaragua  Performance Measurement  Rwanda  Scale  SDGs  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  smaholder farmers  small and growing agrobusiness  smallholder farmers  smes  social impact  supply chain  sustainability  sustainable development  Tanzania  Uganda 

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