Eneza Education, Penda Health and Sanergy have raised undisclosed funding each to help eradicate poverty in Africa through their innovations, becoming the first three firms to raise investments from the recently formed by Global Partnerships/Eleos backed Social Venture Fund (SVF).
“There are very few organizations investing in seed-stage social enterprises,” says Rick Beckett, CEO and President, Global Partnerships. “The Social Venture Fund was created to address the ‘pioneer gap’ – capitalizing and supporting social enterprises in their earliest stages of development. These enterprises are addressing big problems facing people living in poverty, on a continent with the highest and most persistent levels of poverty in the world.”
SVF, is an early-stage impact-led fund investing in social enterprises that expand opportunity for people living in poverty in East Africa. SVF’s initial investors are Sorenson Impact Foundation and Linked Foundation. The SVF will invest in approximately 12 high-potential, early-stage social enterprises focused on education, energy, health, rural livelihoods, sanitation and water. The fund will finance these enterprises through seed-stage convertible debt and early-stage equity, and include active Board engagement. The goal of the SVF is to positively impact 5+ million lives over the life of the fund.
The SVF will be led by Jim Villanueva, who has transitioned from his role as Executive Director of The Eleos Foundation to his role with Global Partnerships as Managing Director of the SVF.
Mr. Villanueva has been investing in early stage social businesses in developing countries for seven years. He is regarded as a leader in the impact investing space, with deep networks among accelerators, incubators, service providers and funders. He brings extensive experience as an entrepreneur and investor to his current role, providing advisory support to entrepreneurs and frequently serving on their boards of directors.
“I am thrilled to join Global Partnerships as the Managing Director for this new Social Venture Fund”, says Villanueva. “GP’s over twenty year success as an impact-led investor and its seasoned team will be a huge asset in helping these early stage social enterprises grow and have a greater impact.”