SEAF, in partnership with Macedonia 2025, launched the Macedonia II Fund in July 2014 to build upon the success of the SEAF Macedonia I Fund in order to invest in growing, job-creating businesses. Macedonia 2025 is a group of successful Macedonian Diaspora committed to improving the entrepreneurial environment, economic development, and education in Macedonia. Targeted sectors include agribusiness, light manufacturing, consumer goods, information and communications technology (ICT), spa resorts, supermarkets, a nursing home, and energy efficiency. SEAF will also invest in domestic companies providing products or services to an increasing number of multi-national enterprises (MNEs).
The Fund will also offer debt investment opportunities through a Diaspora Bond in partnership with Homestrings. Homestrings is an investment platform linking Diaspora with impact investing opportunities. For more information on the Diaspora Bond, click here.
Currently, Macedonia is among the most attractive countries in which to invest in the Balkans. It has enjoyed among the strongest GDP growth rates in Europe, bolstered by its service sector and textile industries. The SME sector is particularly vital to the economy as it comprises more than 98% of all the active companies in the country and is regarded as the driving force of overall economic activity. With high unemployment still hampering further advancement of the economy, it is vital that SMEs in Macedonia are supported through financial and advisory means in order to decrease joblessness and increase spending.
In 1999, SEAF launched its Macedonia I Fund as the first risk capital fund in the country with the objective of investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Despite the investment period taking place during an internal conflict in the country, the fund provided adequate returns. Since then, gains on investments were redeployed into a local Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED) and a follow-on regional fund, the SEAF South Balkan Fund. By collaborating with CEED, SEAF’s non-profit subsidiary, the fund is able to source investment opportunities in an efficient manner while CEED provides over 600 entrepreneurs with deep insight to Macedonia’s economy and enterprises.