The Small Enterprise Impact Investing Fund (SEIIF), an initiative of Oxfam, the City of London Corporation, and Symbiotics, an investment firm specializing in microfinance and small and medium enterprise (SME) impact funds, officially launches with the first $1 million loan to a Mongolian machinery and equipment leasing company Xac Leasing. The SEIIF will make “impact investments” in SMEs in emerging markets.
Since its inception in July this year, the City of London Corporation has invested $500,000 in the fund, with further investments from Oxfam, Symbiotics, and private and institutional investors. The target size of the SEIIF is $100 million after three years, which will be invested in a portfolio of debt and equity instruments, targeting those with low risk, high impact profiles.
“We are determined to prove to the investment industry that its scale and influence means it could play a significant role in eradicating poverty. Our aim is to make impact investing a mainstream investment product which the sector recognises as a serious tool for both financial return and social impact,” says Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam.
“In particular, SEIIF has been designed to meet the needs of the ‘missing middle’. These are the countless small businesses in developing countries which have the potential to thrive but are completely stifled by limited access to credit. The fact that we have been able to make such a significant investment within our first year proves that the appetite exists within the financial community, and we are continuing to bring new investors on board now.”
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