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FinDev Canada Invests US$12.5m in EcoEnterprises

22 May 2019

FinDev Canada will invest US$12.5m in EcoEnterprises Partners III, a women-led impact fund investing in Latin American SMBs working to protect fragile environments, create jobs and empower women in rural areas.

(Press Release) FinDev Canada announced an investment of USD 12,5 million in EcoEnterprises Partners III, LP, a women-led fund that will invest in small and medium Latin American businesses that show high potential to protect fragile environments, create jobs and empower women in rural areas.

EcoEnterprises Partners III, LP, whose inception is from the Nature Conservatory, will provide loans and equity investments for mainly locally owned and led SMEs in the agriculture, agroforestry, and ecotourism sectors in Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua and Bolivia. It is an investment fund that targets environmental and social impacts by investing in sustainable business models.

With the support of EcoEnterprises III, these businesses are projected to support as many as 6,000 jobs and up to 20,000 local suppliers. The increased business activities in rural areas, will in turn improve local economic opportunities and the conservation of ecosystems and natural resources on which rural SMEs and communities depend.

“We are proud to support a women-led Fund with a solid track record of helping environmentally sustainable businesses in Latin America scale their operations” said Paul Lamontagne, Managing Director of FinDev Canada. “We believe the private sector is key to address climate change and to empower women in rural areas, where they are often more vulnerable to inequalities.”

“We are delighted to welcome FinDev Canada in our third fund. FinDev Canada is an ideal partner as their vision is aligned with ours in furthering women’s leadership in the impact investing field, expressed Tammy E. Newmark, Managing Partner & CEO, EcoEnterprises Fund. “FinDev Canada’s investment enables us to continue to achieve tangible environmental and social change while we build a “Portfolio for the Planet”.

Sustainable business to protect fragile environments

EcoEnterprises III targets biodiversity-based SMEs which, with the support of the fund, will have a highly positive environmental impact in Latin America.

By using sustainable land management approaches, businesses supported by the fund will help preserve fragile ecosystems and biodiversity. They will also have a positive impact in CO2 reduction by reducing use of fertilizers and deforestation, among other sustainable business practices.

As a value added, FinDev Canada will support the fund to improve measurement of these positive environmental outcomes.

Empowering women as leaders and employees through the private sector

FinDev Canada’s investment qualifies for the “2X Challenge: Financing for women”. The 2X Challenge, launched at the 2018 G7 Summit in Canada, calls on development finance institutions to mobilize their own funds, as well as private capital, to help advance women as entrepreneurs, as business leaders, as employees and as consumers of products and services that enhance their economic participation.

EcoEnterprises III meets the threshold set by the 2X criteria for women in senior leadership in the financial sector. According to the IFC, only 15% of senior investment teams in the private equity sector are gender balanced.

In addition to its qualification based on fund leadership, previous funds managed by EcoEnterprises have shown strong outcomes for women in Latin America: for example, businesses supported by EcoEnterprises Fund II employed a significant proportion of women, and showed good participation of women in senior management teams. EcoEnterprises III is expected to bring similar benefits for women as employees, as suppliers and as business owners and leaders.

FinDev Canada will help EcoEnterprises III increase their capacity to support businesses’ improvements in their contribution to women’s economic empowerment and gender equality.

About FinDev Canada

The Development Finance Institute Canada Inc., operating under the FinDev Canada brand, is a Canadian institution dedicated to providing financial services to the private sector in developing countries with the aim of combating poverty through economic growth by focusing on three main themes: economic development through job creation, women economic empowerment, and climate change mitigation. The Development Finance Institute Canada Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada (EDC). Find out more about FinDev Canada here.

About EcoEnterprises Fund

EcoEnterprises Fund offers tailored growth capital and strategic guidance to innovative impact businesses in order to scale and optimize financial, environmental and social performance. For nearly 20 years, the Fund has successfully proven its unique approach, managing two funds that have financed over 30 companies across 11 countries in Latin America. EcoEnterprises Partners III, LP builds on its track record of delivering portfolio results while generating fair and sustainable livelihoods for local communities, and preserving our most important asset: Planet Earth.