SEAF launched the CARE Small Business Assistance Corporation Polska (CARESBAC Polska) in Poland in March 1992, which was merged into Emerging Europe Capital Partners I (EECP I) in 2008. At the time of CARESBAC Polska’s inception, inflation in Poland was at 60% and the country lacked formal financing options for the expansion of its early-stage, small and medium enterprises (SMEs). To address this gap, CARESBAC Polska provided promising SMEs with essential growth capital and expert business assistance from our local team and international network. As the fund matured, SEAF benefitted from the extraordinary drive, intuition and insight of Polish entrepreneurs throughout the country, as well as from a set of investors that realized the importance of SMEs to the growth of a sustainable business sector in Poland. By 1998, when the fund made its last investment, it had made a total of 49 investments throughout the country. In October 2008, CARESBAC Polska was re-domiciled in Luxembourg under the fund name EECP I.
Unusual for equity funds, SEAF structured EECP I as a 15-year fund. The fund operated with four offices throughout the country through which it disbursed more than 80% of its investments outside the Warsaw area. The fund counted among its investments Poland’s leading ERP software company, one of Poland’s first internet service providers, the country’s top domestic pet food producer, fast-moving consumer goods and office supply distribution companies, and Poland’s premier organic fruit and vegetable company. Along the way, the fund helped create thousands of jobs, generated substantial tax revenues to the newly democratic government, and developed the core of SEAF’s initial investment officers.