The fund, called the Impact Economy Innovation Fund (IEIF) was officially launched on Fridayat an Impact Investment Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. The forum, which was attended by many leading African entrepreneurs, was jointly hosted by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business with the aim of introducing Africa’s business leaders to the concept and practice of impact investing.
Impact investing, a relatively new concept in African investment circles, typically refers to investments that aim to solve pertinent social and economic challenges while generating a financial return. The impact investing industry channels capital to market-based solutions in areas such as affordable housing, clean technology, financial services for the poor, sustainable agriculture and other related sectors while targeting returns ranging from below market to market rate.
Speaking on the new fund, Dr. Wiebe Boer, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation said, “Impact Investing is a critical tool in driving our agenda of promoting entrepreneurship for lasting economic and social development in Africa. We want to see more deals of this nature and our commitment to support this new fund is just the beginning.”
The IEIF will be managed by The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) in close collaboration with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.
While the Rockefeller Foundation and the Tony Elumelu Foundation refused to divulge the exact size of the fund, the IEIF will support approximately 7-8 proposals with a preference for projects that seek to enable capital solutions, foster entrepreneurial ecosystems and promote impact investing industry infrastructure – ultimately aimed at improving the lives of poor or vulnerable people throughout Africa. The maximum grant amount is US$100,000 and organizations may participate in more than one grant proposal. Interested organizations can find more information on how to access the fund here.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation, founded and funded by wealthy Nigerian banker Tony Elumelu, is an influential non-profit that aims to promote excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. The Rockefeller Foundation is one of America’s oldest private foundations; it addresses the emerging challenges facing humankind in areas such as health, international relations and agriculture.