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Grassroots Business Fund eyes regional fund strategies

Inclusive Economy

The international impact investment firm is developing two funds for Africa and Latin America

PC: Grassroots Business Fund

Grassroots Business Fund is developing two funds for Africa and Latin America based on lessons learned from its first $49 million fund.

The global impact investment firm invests — mostly through mezzanine debt — in businesses generating income and cost savings for underserved communities. It focuses on agribusinesses, artisans and tech ventures in Asia, Africa and Latin America (see, “Building Businesses With More Than Money”).

The new funds will be tailored regionally, with financial and impact targets based on lessons and results of its global fund, says GBF’s Jaime Ramirez.

GBF fully deployed its first fund late last year, investing in 36 businesses. Recent investments include a $2.5 million loan to agricultural firm Shared-X, which is developing an organic pineapple project in the Dominican Republic; a $500,000 line of credit to Lafaza, an agribusiness for Madagascar’s vanilla market; and a $500,000 new line of credit to SOKO, a handcrafted jewelry maker in Kenya.

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