Citi, OPIC and Ford Foundation Launch Scaling Enterprise, a $100MM Financing Partnership to Support Social Enterprises
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct 23, 2019 — Citi Inclusive Finance, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Ford Foundation today introduced Scaling Enterprise, a $100 million loan guarantee facility, which will enable Citi to provide early-stage financing in local currency to companies that expand access to products and services for low-income communities in emerging markets. The announcement was made at the 2019 SOCAP Conference.
Loans and working capital in local currency and at affordable rates can enable early-stage social impact companies to achieve scale, greater efficiencies and lower costs. Scaling Enterprise will facilitate vital growth financing to eligible companies that are expanding access to finance, agriculture, energy, affordable housing, water and sanitation to low-income households in emerging markets.
Marking the first two transactions under Scaling Enterprise, the partners have committed $5 million in financing to INI Farms to help smallholder banana and pomegranate farmers in India access export markets and increase incomes by up to 20 percent, as well as $5 million in financing to d.light to expand access to off-grid solar energy in Kenya.
In addition to enabling companies to scale and expand their impact, the partnership will help these ventures gain a wider array of mainstream financing options in the future.
“The most innovative ideas are often developed by small, early stage businesses without access to the capital they need to expand their reach and impact,” said OPIC’s David Bohigian. “OPIC is pleased to partner with Citi and the Ford Foundation to help these ventures scale sustainable solutions to challenges facing low-income communities across the world.”
“For many companies that are working to meet the needs of vulnerable and underserved populations in emerging economies, their reach is limited by a lack of access to affordable finance,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance. “Scaling Enterprise is an example of how multisector partnerships and collaboration with trusted local intermediaries can serve this last mile to reach communities and drive inclusive economic growth.”
“This extraordinary and innovative partnership with Citi and OPIC exemplifies how to utilize our capital markets to combat inequality and exclusion,” said Christine Looney, Deputy Director of Mission Investments at the Ford Foundation. “By aligning our collective resources to strengthen and empower hyper-local institutions, there is a pathway to create a more just and responsible approach with hopefully more equitable outcomes and demonstrates the Ford Foundation’s commitment to mission investments.”
This new initiative builds on the longstanding partnership between Citi’s Export Agency Finance and OPIC, including supporting inclusive finance programs in emerging markets that have provided more than $533 million in lending and supported more than 1.37 million borrowers — 87 percent of whom are women.