The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced a new partnership to help small enterprises access funding to strengthen poor and vulnerable communities in Asia through impact investment.
USAID is contributing $800,000 to the Singapore-based Impact Investment Shujog Limited. (Shujog) to scale their Assistance for Capacity Building and Technical Services (ACTS) program to help nearly 25 Asian social enterprises grow their impact in five sectors — agriculture, health, education, energy and water security — over the next two years.
“USAID is eager to support the growth of social enterprises because they offer an additional means to tackle some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems,” said Michael Yates, Director of the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia.
“While many social enterprises operate on a small scale, they have the potential to expand and bring about greater social benefit. We can help move this forward through our partnership with Shujog, by helping social enterprises raise the capital they need to grow their businesses and increase their impact on the lives of poor and marginalized people.”
Through ACTS and along with partners Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase and the Rockefeller Foundation, this program assists social enterprises to attract investment, scale their businesses and increase their impact through an innovative approach to technical assistance. This partnership is one of six catalytic partnerships formed under USAID’s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship, which encourages private sector investment in early-stage enterprises and identifies innovations that can help unlock the potential of thousands of enterprises worldwide.
Through repayable advances and grants, ACTS offers funding for early-stage social enterprises to seek services so they can be ready to receive impact investment. Participating social enterprises repay the interest-free advance, helping the revolving facility to support additional early-stage businesses.
“By using a partnership model with multinational donors and corporations, Shujog ACTS will unlock impact investment capital to grow social enterprises. Already in its first year of implementation, Shujog ACTS is catalyzing over $1 million in private capital to scale social enterprises that impact over 54,000 beneficiaries,” said Durreen Shahnaz, Shujog’s Founder and Chairperson.
The U.S. Agency of International Development administers the largest U.S. government foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) in Bangkok, Thailand, is a regional office that implements programs and generates partnerships with government, civil society, private sector and regional institutions across more than 20 Asian nations. The Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative works to compel private-sector investment into early-stage enterprises in developing countries. In partnership with intermediaries, accelerators, incubators and investors, USAID is co-investing to test models that accelerate the creation of promising, high growth, and sustainable entrepreneurial ventures across the developing world. Through PACE, USAID has created six public-private partnerships that will leverage a total $56 million in combined public and private investments over the next five years dedicated to testing innovations to bridge the pioneer financing gap and foster entrepreneurship. For more information on PACE visit www.usaid.gov/PACE
Shujog is a not-for-profit social enterprise (SE) founded in 2010 and based in Singapore. “Shujog” is the Bengali word for opportunity, and creating opportunity is at the heart of all its programs. Shujog’s mission is to strengthen, deepen and expand the impact SEs deliver in poor and marginalized communities. Focusing on impact assessment, research, training and advocacy, Shujog has conducted over 40 impact assessments across Asia and has written seminal social finance research papers in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, Asian Development Bank, the United Nations and Oxfam. As an infrastructure builder, Shujog’s SE expertise centers on the agriculture, energy, health, water, and education sectors across the Asia-Pacific region. To date nearly 1.4 million underserved people have benefitted from Shujog’s social value creation. By 2018, Shujog aims to support 100 social enterprises through the ACTS program, and mobilize up to $50 million in follow-on investments to grow their businesses and benefit disadvantaged communities. For more on Shujog, visit www.shujog.org
For more information, please contact:
Taila Mueller, Program Manager Shujog ACTS; firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Nyberg, Senior Regional Communications Advisor, USAID; email@example.com