Dealflow | January 22, 2019

Blue like an Orange’s first loan goes to small-business lender Produbanco in Ecuador

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, January 22 – Blue Like an Orange Sustainable Capital is making good on its mission to mobilize capital for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

The investment firm, which raised $100 million last year in the first close for its Latin America-focused lending fund, has partnered with IDB Invest on a $20 million loan to Ecuadorian small business lender, Produbanco.

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The investment is aligned with a key focus area for Blue like an Orange: access to finance, which contributes to multiple SDGs including zero poverty, decent work and economic growth, and reduced inequalities.

Produbanco has been offering loans and lines of credits to Ecuador’s small businesses for 40 years. The financial services firm’s range of products includes green loans that business owners can use to finance energy efficiency projects and update machinery and production practices. This type of lending was particularly attractive to Blue like an Orange because it promotes more environmentally friendly business practices, which has a knock-on effect on Ecuador’s infrastructure and overall green economic growth, Blue like and Orange’s Amer Baig told ImpactAlpha.

Blue like an Orange’s investment was made through a co-investment partnership with IDB Invest, the Inter-American Development Bank’s private sector group. The eight-year loan will be used to accelerate Produbanco’s general small business lending and green lending activities.

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Blue like an Orange was started in 2017 by Bertrand Badré, the former chief financial officer of the World Bank, and is hoping to mobilize $1 billion for the global goals. 

Limited partners in the firm’s Sustainable Capital Latin America Fund I include billionaire Ray Chambers, French financier Philippe Oddo and Sir Ronald Cohen, co-founder and chair of Bridges Fund Management. Banking giant HSBC and French insurance firms AXA and CNP also are limited partners, along with more than a dozen other institutional investors.