Five Years In The Making, SVX Colombia Aims To Build Up The Impact Ecosystem In That Country


There’s a pretty vibrant impact investing sector in Colombia. And with about $473 million in impact investments, according to the National Advisory Board, it’s poised to become a much bigger force.

With that in mind, SVX Canada and SVX Mexico just announced the launch of SVX Colombia. Five years in the making and supported by a $4 million investment from the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada, it aims to build up the impact ecosystem in Colombia. Its focus is on capital for women-led or women serving enterprises in vulnerable communities, climate action and biodiversity, and rural development.

“Our philosophy is to support what exists with additional resources and fill gaps with tactical programs that wouldn’t otherwise exist,” says Adam Spence, CEO of SVX Canada, a nonprofit, diversified, impact financial services firm.

Addressing the Ecosystem

With its focus on ecosystem-building, SVX Colombia addresses all sides of the impact market.

For funds, that involves working with fund managers—some new, some on their second fund— to help them ramp up their impact investing capacity. The program launched about a month ago, with 10 management teams addressing everything from fund structure and impact investment measurement to relationships with LPs. Participants work with coaches. “By the end of the program, these teams will be more prepared to manage and raise their funds,” says Paula Delgadillo, project director of SVX Colombia. Two of the participants will receive grant money to cover part of their costs.

There also are startup accelerators. But instead of forming them from scratch, SVX Colombia is providing funding and technical assistance to four existing programs. The aim is to help them expand and add a greater level of impact. Each accelerator will run its own program, with its own timetables.

There’s a shortlist of eight enterprises, six of which will receive grant money. (The other two will be able to reapply). The eight include such companies as Samaná, which works with foundations and associations in rural and indigenous communities to sell beehive products; Petalii, an enterprise that provides small farmers with technology that helps them sell flowers and floral arrangement nationally and internationally; and EatCloud, which has a digital platform that helps to redistribute food surpluses to organizations serving vulnerable populations.

SVX Colombia will also connect enterprises and funds with investment capital from private and public sources, with the goal of catalyzing at least $10 million in capital.

“We’re building the collective portfolio of impact investing opportunities in Colombia,” says Spence. “And we’ll be able to showcase a set of funds and enterprises to the investors community in Colombia.”

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