Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) has launched a $2.5 million global partnership to help small and medium sized enterprises gain greater access to financing and consulting services. IFC has committed $850,000 to the $2.5 million fund and SEAF is contributing $733,000 from its own resources. The remaining funds are drawn from sources including the US Agency for International Development; the Dutch and Swiss governments; and the Citizens Democracy Corps, a US organization sending senior business executives to work as volunteers with small and medium sized enterprises in poor countries.
SEAF is a US-Dutch-based non-governmental organisation that operates a network of 14 commercially driven investment funds around the world. It takes minority equity positions in the companies that it supports. SEAF has $140 million under management and operates under a unique “equity plus assistance” model whereby it typically invests in high growth-potential small and medium sized enterprises with 10 to 100 employees and annual revenues of $200,000 to $2 million.
Recently SEAF invested in an Estonian technology company called Regio, which was sold to a Finnish industrial group in September last year. The investment from SEAF’s Baltics fund gained on its 14-month investment in Regio. And in Bolivia it has invested $600,000 in Jolyka, a maker of environmentally sound hardwood flooring products with production processes independently certified by the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council.