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10 Mar SEAF Global Gender Lens Emergency Loan Finance Facility Invests in Georgian Basket
Washington, DC – March 10th – The SEAF Global Gender Lens Emergency Loan Finance Facility (“C19F”), an investment vehicle focused on addressing the devastating effects of COVID-19 on SMEs supporting women through the pandemic, has closed an investment in Georgian Basket, a restaurant and retail operator selling artisanal Georgian food products and working to promote women in the agricultural industry. The Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and SEAF developed C19F to provide SMEs supporting women in DFC-eligible countries with the emergency funding and business support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, thereby enabling these SMEs to survive, regain their footing and continue to deliver their support to their local communities through this global crisis.
Founded in 2015, Georgian Basket sources and delivers high-quality products to customers using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, such as cheese, honey, and fruit and vegetable based-sauces from micro-businesses. In addition to Georgian Basket’s café in Tbilisi, the company specializes in the retail and wholesale of Georgian-produced goods via ATU Georgia/Duty-Free points in Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi airports.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) describes the contribution of women in the agribusiness sector in Georgia as “invisible and under-recognized,” emphasizing women’s limited access to productive resources such as land, finance, decision-making, information, new technologies and agricultural inputs. According to Geostat, women earn 25% less than men do in the industry. Few women hold senior leadership positions in the industry, but Georgian Basket has emerged as a leader working to strengthen the visibility of women in the business.
Half of Georgian’s workforce is composed of women and the financial and marketing departments of the company are both led by women. Georgian Basket also promotes women entrepreneurs in its selection of suppliers. More than 50% of their suppliers, the majority of which are small farmers, are women. The financing from C19F will go toward a new processing facility, among other strategic initiatives.
“We are pleased to finance Georgian Basket’s new processing facility in West Georgia and other strategic initiatives that will provide formal, quality employment opportunities for women in the economic value chain,” commented SEAF Managing Director, Jan Cherim. “With strong brand recognition and an array of quality, locally produced products, Georgian Basket is well-positioned for the post-pandemic environment and will contribute to the country’s food security.”
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, the 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.