Palladium, a global consultancy, is raising $40m for off-grid solar and agribusiness startups operating in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.
Dubbed the “Palladium Impact Fund I”, the fund is expected to provide much-needed capital for agribusiness value chains and off-grid clean energy ventures in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to alleviate poverty and economically empower over 500,000 rural households.
The fund also intends to create at least 3,500 full-time jobs, of which 60 per cent will be for women when it completes its fundraising from foundations, family offices, pension funds, and institutional investors.
According to Andrew Tillery, Head of Impact Investments at Palladium, “Fifty-four years of experience has taught Palladium that for an investment to have impact, it has to be sustainable, which means it needs to generate a financial return. For this first fund, we’ve chosen to invest in empowering African women, as women perform the majority of agricultural activities, own a third of all firms and are key to the welfare of their families. Gender equality and empowerment in the region can raise productive potential and boost the continent’s development.”
Palladium will manage the fund, anchored by a $5 million investment of its own capital. The new fund will make debt and mezzanine investments of between $250,000 and $2 million into small companies.
Palladium has already made two direct impact investments, including in Naasakle, a mother and daughter-owned shea nut harvesting and processing business in Ghana, and PEG Africa, an off-grid solar energy project. Palladium has a further 10 investments under due diligence.
“After three years investing our own capital, we feel now is the right moment to raise our first Impact Investment fund and begin to channel others’ capital to deliver impact,” said Christopher Hirst, CEO of Palladium.
For over 50 years, Palladium has worked with business leaders to increase their bottom line through sustainable and profitable business strategies. It has also worked with international development programmes in over 90 countries and across a broad range of sectors offering donor agencies a balance of global scale and in-house technical expertise. The firm also works with governments around the world to make transformational change possible across regions and countries.
This new fund will help it increase its impact even more and create more opportunities for populations in Africa and across the emerging markets.