The Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), has announced the spin-off of its Latin America team into a new fully-fledged unit, operating as Andes Impact Partners (AIP) with its headquarters in Lima, Peru.
The fund targets inclusive businesses which incorporate underserved, vulnerable or low-income communities in their supply chains, helping to improve incomes and quality of life of these communities. Target businesses must be committed to gender equity and to promoting equal opportunities.
GBF will remain as AIP partner of choice for grant-funded technical assistance and business advisory services, leveraging its decade-long experience providing technical assistance programs.
According to GBF’s Chief Executive Officer, Harold Rosen, the organization’s regional office in Nairobi will continue to cover Africa and Asia. Mr. Rosen further explained, “Our objective is to create financial opportunities for highly impactful businesses that invest in a sustained inclusion, economic growth and development of low-income communities in the countries where we operate.”
According to Mr. Rosen, GBF aims to increase footprint in East Africa and beyond. Lilian Mramba, GBF’s Africa Regional Director, has been leading in fundraising efforts for the East Africa Plus Fund (EAPF), which is projected to invest in 40 high impact businesses and impact the lives of people in East Africa.
EAPF will continue GBF’s signature approach of blending structured mezzanine finance with business advisory services. EAPF will also seek to catalyze climate resilience and adaptation in the companies it supports, and will invest with a gender lens.
In Kenya, GBF is currently managing the Mastercard Foundation MSMEs COVID-19 Response Fund which provides emergency relief loans to members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), WomenWork Ventures, and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI).
The loans are being managed in collaboration with its partners, Cardno Emerging Markets and 4G Capital, were designed to boost MSMEs by providing them with working capital that allows them to navigate challenges caused by the global health crisis. The loans to microenterprises targeted gave priority to youth and women-led enterprises and to certain sectors such as agriculture, retail and healthcare.
The facility is focused missing middle SMEs, especially those owned and led by women and youth, operating in the agricultural sector. These agribusinesses will have solid managerial foundations and high potential for social impact.