Citi Inclusive Finance, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the Ford Foundation have introduced a $100 million loan guarantee facility designed to help social enterprises achieve scale.
The partnership, Scaling Enterprise, will provide early-stage financing to startups working to expand access to finance, agriculture, energy, affordable housing, water, and sanitation services in low-income communities in emerging markets. By providing loans and working capital at affordable rates, the facility will make it possible for social enterprises to achieve scale with greater efficiency and at lower cost and help them access a wider variety of financing options in the future.
Announced at the 2019 SOCAP Conference, Scaling Enterprise has already committed $5 million in financing to India-based INI Farms, which helps smallholder banana and pomegranate farmers access export markets, and $5 million to Palo Alto-based d.light to expand access to off-grid solar energy in Kenya.
"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."
"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 executive vice president 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."