There is quite a vibrant impact investing industry in Colombia. And with about $473 million in impact investments, according to the National Advisory Board, it’s about to become a much bigger force.
With that in mind, SVX Canada And SVX Mexico just announced the launch of SVX Colombia. Five years in the making and backed by a $4 million investment from the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada, it aims to build the impact ecosystem in Colombia. The focus is on capital for women-led or women-serving businesses in vulnerable communities, climate action and biodiversity, and rural development.
“Our philosophy is to support what exists with additional resources and fill gaps with tactical programs that otherwise wouldn’t exist,” said Adam Spence, CEO of SVX Canada, a non-profit, diversified impact financial services company.
Addressing the ecosystem
With its focus on building ecosystems, SVX Colombia addresses all sides of the impact market.
For funds, that means working with fund managers – some new, some in their second fund – to help them ramp up their impact investing ability. The program launched about a month ago, with 10 management teams tackling everything from fund structure and impact investment measurement to relationships with LPs. The participants work with coaches. “By the end of the program, these teams will be better prepared to manage and raise their funds,” said Paula Delgadillo, Project Director of SVX Colombia. Two of the participants will receive a grant to cover part of their costs.
There are also startup accelerators. But rather than building them from scratch, SVX Colombia is providing funding and technical assistance to four existing programs. The goal is to help them expand and add more impact. Each accelerator runs its own program, with its own time schedules.
There is a shortlist of eight companies, six of which receive subsidies. (The other two can reapply). The eight include companies like Samaná, which partners with foundations and associations in rural and indigenous communities to sell beehive products; Petalii, a company that provides smallholder farmers with technology to sell flowers and floral arrangements nationally and internationally; and EatCloud, which has a digital platform that helps redistribute food surpluses to organizations serving vulnerable populations.
SVX Colombia will also connect ventures and funds with investment capital from private and public sources, aiming to catalyze at least $10 million in capital.
“We are building the collective portfolio of impact investing opportunities in Colombia,” said Spence. “And we will be able to present a range of funds and companies to the investor community in Colombia.”