Impact fund FINCA Ventures backs African startups

FINCA Ventures, an impact investing platform that provides patient capital to early-stage social enterprises, has launched, announcing a host of African investments.

FINCA Ventures is an impact investing initiative of financial services organisation FINCA International, launched to supports innovative solutions to poverty in energy, water, education, health, agriculture and fintech.

The new investment firm aims to accelerate the growth of social enterprises developing goods that align with FINCA’s charitable mission, thus fostering a market for extremely affordable, high-quality and life-improving products and services for the bottom of the pyramid.

“For more than three decades, FINCA has given small loans to micro-entrepreneurs around the world,” said Rupert Scofield, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of FINCA International.

“As a pioneer in microfinance, FINCA International created a sustainable and scalable social enterprise. Because of this, FINCA Ventures is uniquely positioned to help social enterprises grow faster and smarter and reach a bottom of the pyramid market more effectively and responsibly.”

Over the past 18 months, FINCA Ventures has invested in six social enterprises that are serving emerging market customers, including two from Kenya: ed-tech startup Eneza Education and waste-to-energy company Sanivation.

Zambia’s Good Nature Agro, which partners with smallholder farmers to improve their productivity, has also been backed, as have Swedish weather forecasting solution Ignitia and US-based companies Amped Innovation and BioLite.

“FINCA International is going beyond general financial inclusion and looking more deeply at access to basic services and the role finance can play,” said Ami Dalal, vice president and managing director of FINCA Ventures. “Combined, FINCA’s work in microfinance and social enterprise generates greater resilience and opportunity, and helps low-income families achieve a better standard of living.”

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