Inua Capital secures $8 million to offer flexible capital for small businesses in Uganda

ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 15 – Kim Kamarebe founded Inua Capital to provide growth equity and mentorship to Uganda’s small businesses that are creating jobs and providing essential products and services.

“Small businesses in Uganda have a complete lack of access to capital,” she told ImpactAlpha. “We’re losing 99 of 100 entrepreneurs because they don’t have the right guidance or enabling factors to be successful.”

The Kampala-based fund manager cuts checks of $100,000 to $500,000 to businesses with up to $1 million in revenue. Inua uses a mix of equity and quasi-equity instruments, including convertible notes.

The firm focuses on agriculture companies and those making essential goods. It’s aiming to have 30% women-led companies in its portfolio.

Inua has raised $8 million for its first fund, called Inua Impact Fund. The fund is backed by IPDEV, part of the impact investing group I&P, and EDFI AgriFI, a European agriculture-focused blended finance facility.

Inua is I&P’s first fund investment in East Africa. The French firm, which largely invests in francophone countries, has anchored six small business-focused funds in West Africa and aims to increase that to 10 across the continent by next year.

Local ecosystem

Inua’s open-ended fund is targeting local institutional investors for future raises. Such investors have a mandate for alternative assets but little experience with private equity.

Kamarebe says local investors can help close the capital loop and support local wealth and opportunity creation.

“They’re excited by the idea of impacting entrepreneurship and jobs,” she says. “But the education curve is high.”