Female entrepreneurs will benefit from a $40 million grant expected to bridge the financing gap for small business in Sub-Saharan Africa offered by a Palladium, a global consultancy firm.
Key focus: The fund, “Palladium Impact Fund I” is targeted at 60% of women in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya whose businesses revolve around agribusiness and off-grid clean energy. It intends to create 3,500 full-time jobs while economically empowering 500,000 rural households.
The fund will be supervised by Palladium which is investing $ 5million of its capital into the projects. Other investors are expected to include foundations, family offices, pension funds, and institutional investors. Palladium will utilize the additional $5 million to strictly make investments of between $250,000 and $2 million into small companies.
This is not the first time Palladium will be giving grants to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company is overseeing 10 other investments as well as two direct impact investments, including Naasakle, a mother and daughter-owned shea nut harvesting and processing business in Ghana, and PEG Africa, an off-grid solar energy project.
Andrew Tillery, the Head of Impact Investments at Palladium, explained that the firm’s decision to include women was because women participate more in agricultural activities.
“Fifty-four years of experience has taught Palladium that for an investment to have an impact, it has to be sustainable, which means it needs to generate a financial return. For this first fund, we’ve chosen to invest in empowering African women, as women perform most agricultural activities, own a third of all firms and are key to the welfare of their families. Gender equality and empowerment in the region can raise productive potential and boost the continent’s development.
“Solar and clean energy technology is hugely important particularly in rural Africa as it provides vital electricity to households. The social benefits are significant. For instance, 24-hour lighting enables more effective infant care and in turn, can lower the infant mortality rate. It’s also the catalyst for the development of small, growing businesses as the working day is longer and more productive. Clean energy can power enabling technology, such as irrigation for farmers, to mitigate many of the risks associated with primary production like adverse weather conditions.”
An elated Christopher Hirst, the CEO of Palladium, was proud of the first Impact Investment fund and hoped it would help channel others into delivering impact.
“After three years investing our own capital, we feel now is the right moment to raise our first Impact Investment Fund and begin to channel others’ capital to deliver impact. We’re ideally placed to use our extensive international development work and global reach to source ideas for potential, credible investment opportunities. Our relationships with USAID, DFID, DFAT, governments and private sector clients are directly relevant as we seek to ultimately bridge the gap between aid and impact investing, with Palladium as the intermediary.”
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About Palladium Group
Palladium works with governments, businesses, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Governments, corporations, and investors need to work together with communities and civil society to make those dreams happen. Part of their work revolves around Impact Investment fund which is used to mobilise private capital to address social issues while generating a financial return for investors.