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  • Before I get started, I wanted to first introduce my wonderful Verde Ventures Team and recognize them for all their hard work since joining me in the fall of last year: Adriana Madrigal and Deborah Aragao- if you would please stand so people know who to talk to when they have funding requests! Now that you see who we are.. Let’s move on to what we are..


  • 1. Addressing the Challenges to Investing in Conservation SMEs in Africa ABCG Meeting March 22 nd 2005
  • 2. Verde Ventures Approach
    • Corridors
    • Economic Incentives
    • Small Businesses as Conservation Partners
    • Chronic Lack of Capital
  • 3. Verde Ventures Overview
    • $6.75 million and growing.
    • Capitalized as debt by the IFC/GEF, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Starbucks.
    • Investment Goals: Biodiversity conservation, conservation-oriented job-creation and cost recovery.
    • Invest in CI’s global priority areas.
  • 4. Verde Ventures Overview
    • Use of Funds: Infrastructure, working capital, trade finance etc.
    • Instruments : Primarily Subordinated Debt
    • Investment Size : $30,000 to $500,000
    • Sectors: Agro-forestry/NTFPs (84%), Eco-tourism (12%) and Others (4%)
    • Geography: Latin America (60%), Asia (30%), Africa (10%)
  • 5. Verde Ventures Results
    • 100% on-time repayment ($2 million)
    • $3.9 million invested in 15 projects
    • Improving land use in 600,000 hectares containing over 95 Red-listed species
    • Supporting enterprises employing over 9,000 local people in 7 countries
    • Leveraged co-financing of over $2 million in external funding
  • 6. Program Expansion
    • New partnership with UNDP’s Equator Initiative: Equator Ventures
    • Enterprise Development Services to ensure “bankability” of conservation-SMES.
    • Maximizing Core Competencies:
      • CI- Project Selection/monitoring
      • UNDP-BDS and Extensive Networks
  • 7. Day Chocolate Company
      • UK based fair-trade chocolate company supporting CI- partner in Ghana.
      • Financing for working capital to purchase cocoa from Ghanaian cooperative.
      • $250,000, 5 year loan plus equity kicker for 3% of the company (Jan, 2002).
      • Initially we had wanted to invest direct in the cooperative (Kuapa Kokoo), but CURRENCY instability prevented this.
  • 8. Wildlife Works Kenya
      • Apparel manufacturer providing local employment in exchange for conservation commitment from community.
      • $150,000 4 year loan with fixed interest plus % of sales (March, 2005).
      • Secured by local collateral plus a guarantee from US-based parent company.
      • Initial plan was to invest $500,000, but investment committee felt the business model was too risky and financial systems insufficient-CAPACITY.
  • 9. VV Investments In Africa
    • Only 2 investments to date- One off-shore
    • Why? The 6 C’s….
    • COST
  • 10. Addressing the Challenges
    • CURRENCY :
      • Invest in companies with revenue in hard currency
      • Set aside $ to cover for exchange risk
    • CAPACITY :
      • UNDP Partnership and use of BDS providers such as TechnoServe and hopefully others.
    • COST :
      • Use BDS providers and grant funds to defray costs- We have a developmental agenda.
  • 11. Addressing the Challenges
      • Guarantee Facility to help cover risk.
      • Regional/development bank engagement
      • Pilot investments
      • Risk Incentives and information provided on conservation SME market (IFC’s EBFP)
      • Expand networks, direct outreach through donors, BDS providers, other ideas?
  • 12. Conclusion
    • Conservation SMEs in Africa have similar challenges of other continents.
    • However, the lack of investments in conservation SMEs is worse in most of Africa than in other regions.
    • Need for incentive mechanisms and guarantee facilities as well as grant-based conservation SME capacity building funds.
    • Commercial banks and MFIs operating in Africa need to know more about conservation SME markets and if demand, develop appropriate financial products.