08 Mar SEAF Announces Second Disbursement of Global Gender Lens Covid-19 Debt Facility
Washington, DC – March 8 – The SEAF Global Gender Lens Emergency Loan Finance Facility (the “C19F”) has closed an investment in Financial Access Commerce and Trade Services (“FACTS”), a company that specializes in providing short-term working capital to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), agribusinesses and emerging entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda with limited access to financing from commercial banks. Approximately 50% of FACTS’ direct and indirect beneficiaries, its permanent employees, casual laborers, customers, and suppliers/outgrowers, are women.
In East Africa, banks serve a mere ~20% of the US$30 billion SME funding needs and FACTS fills this gap through its supply chain financing offerings. As opposed to traditional banks, FACTS offers invoice finance and factoring to SMEs and does not require any collateral beyond invoices. Technology is at the heart of the company as it owns the exclusive license of a Supply Chain Financing IT platform which has helped the company position itself as a unique player in the region. Through its financing, FACTS serves 5,597 suppliers, the vast majority of which are smallholder farmers in rural areas of Kenya and Uganda.
The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the closure of businesses, many of which serve as sources of many families’ livelihoods and has exacerbated challenges in East African countries that were already resource-constrained. The financing from C19F will help FACTS to expand its portfolio and create a multiplier effect. The key sectors served by FACTS in Kenya and Uganda, such as agriculture and retail pharmacies, have registered strong financing demand as a result of the pandemic. There is an increased need for SMEs to supply both governments and international NGOs with grains and cereals to feed the increasing number of jobless and refugees. This loan will facilitate that process.
“We are very pleased with SEAF’s continued support. The COVID -19 loan has enabled us to continue to provide financing to key sectors such as agriculture and healthcare. These businesses are experiencing increased financing needs as a result of this crisis but lack financing options due to the increased risk and reluctance of banks to lend,” commented Peter van der Krogt, co-founder and CEO of FACTS. “The pandemic has demonstrated how critical digital platforms like FACTS are to providing SMEs access to finance.”
Ingrid Chou of the C19F team stated, “SEAF is delighted to support the company during this challenging time and build resilience in the communities through FACTS’ portfolio. Beyond providing vital financing options to SMEs, the company has been a champion of women’s economic empowerment in the region, with 80% of its current portfolio have a sufficient percentage of women in leadership roles. We look forward to amplifying the impact through the integration of SEAF’s GES© methodology into the expanded portfolio.”
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and SEAF developed the C19F to provide SMEs supporting women with the emergency funding and business support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, enabling these SMEs to survive, regain their footing and continue to deliver their support to their local communities through this global crisis.
SEAF is a global impact private equity manager achieving meaningful and measurable impact results and positive financial returns by providing entrepreneurs in emerging markets with the capital, knowledge, and networks they need to grow their businesses. To date, SEAF has managed more than $1.2 billion of impact capital, investing more than $560 million through 430 impact investments globally. In addition, SEAF has been a leading gender lens investor through over 100 investments in SMEs supporting women, it’s pilot SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund in Southeast Asia, Gender Equality Scorecard©, collaboration with UNESCAP in South and Southeast Asia, and other gender lens vehicles under development.