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14 Jan SEAF Launches SEAF Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund With Pædagogernes Pension As Cornerstone Investor
January 14, 2020 – Singapore – SEAF Southeast Asia Management Pte Ltd is pleased to announce the successful launch and first close of SEAF Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund (SWEEF) with initial funding from Pædagogernes Pension (PBU), the Danish pension fund for early childhood teachers and youth educators. This launch was achieved through the financial support provided by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
SEAF Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund follows the success of the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund (SWOF), which has invested in six women-led and/or women-owned businesses in Southeast Asia.
At the core of SWEEF’s investment framework is a women-centered strategy focusing on Southeast Asian investments in primarily Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The Fund will invest in women entrepreneurs as well as businesses operating in sectors where women comprise a large portion of the labor force, those delivering products and services meeting the unique and unmet wants and needs of women and girls, and those where the leadership demonstrates a strong commitment to gender equality and wider diversity. The fund is managed by local teams, the majority of which consist of women investment professionals who not only manage the investments to deliver financial returns, but also to provide critical local gender context to ensure a transformative and long-term impact for women.
Jennifer Buckley, Senior Managing Director at SEAF, says: “We are pleased to announce our partnership with PBU for our landmark women’s economic empowerment fund in Southeast Asia, which was launched with the instrumental support of ESCAP and GAC. I am heartened by the support and flexibility PBU has provided SEAF to reach this milestone, particularly given the global travel restrictions faced in 2020. This commitment demonstrates PBU’s leadership in the European pension plan community in investing with a social impact framework that aligns with its membership, as well as ESCAP and GAC’s continued support of gender equality efforts.”
“The investment into the SEAF Women Economic Empowerment Fund has a clear link to our strategy for responsible investments, where we focus on empowering women and strengthening gender equality. In this way, we promote the social area in PBU’s investment profile and at the same time enable a good return for the benefit of our members,” stated PBU CEO Sune Schackenfeldt.
“We are proud to support investments in Asia that are helping women-owned and run businesses to innovate, compete, and grow. We have learnt that meeting the needs of women entrepreneurs requires us to innovate and go beyond the usual lending modalities towards promoting mentorship, business development support services and access to growth capital and that is exactly what our partnership with SEAF offers,” said ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary Kaveh Zahedi.
Pædagogernes Pension (PBU) is a Danish pension company representing early childhood teachers and youth educators and is 100 percent owned by its 117,000 members. PBU manages a total pension fund of approx. DKK 80 billion.
About ESCAP’s Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme
This initiative is implemented under a regional programme initiative titled ‘Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship: Creating a Gender-Responsive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’ funded by the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada, and implemented by ESCAP. The programme aims to support the growth of women entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region through addressing the challenges faced at three levels: enabling policy environment, access to finance and use of ICT for entrepreneurship. For more information, visit https://www.unescap.org/projects/cwe
SEAF is a global investment management group headquartered in Washington, DC, that provides growth capital and business assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging and transition markets underserved by traditional sources of capital. Through its network of offices around the world, SEAF invests in entrepreneurs to seek to build successful businesses, with the goal of realizing both attractive returns for its investors and a measurable development impact in local communities. SEAF, with committed capital of $1.2 billion, has more than 30 years of experience with 40 funds in over 30 countries. SEAF also supports nine Centers for Entrepreneurship and Development (CEED) around the world (www.ceed-global.org), providing training, mentoring, professional networks and global access to entrepreneur-run businesses. For more about SEAF, see www.seaf.com.