Four African startups selected by UNDP for its Growth Stage Impact Ventures program

AFRICAThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has vetted four African startups for transforming access to health, energy, and waste management in its Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) program.

The four include Easy Solar from Sierra Leone, Powerstove and ColdHubs from Nigeria and Vula Mobile from South Africa.

The 4 were part of the 12 selected finalists representing the most innovative and investment-ready ventures that are transforming access to health, energy, and waste management in developing countries.

UNDP’s Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative aims at identifying and showcasing midcap impact ventures in developing countries with the catalytic potential to drive both large impact and yield sustainable profit.

“The GSIV is one of the most rigorous selection processes to identify Post-series A ventures focusing on solutions that empower people at the bottom of the pyramid and actively contribute to poverty reduction in developing countries,” noted Alessandra Rojas, Sustainable Entrepreneurship Manager at EPFL Tech4Impact.

“We have the capacity to screen a gold mine of innovators that are shaping the new economy in developing countries.”

Sarah Bel – SDG Finance Geneva Summit manager, UNDP

“The quality of the pipeline was exceptional, with ventures from the Global South presenting solid business models and impact track records.

“This edition was highly successful as we received almost twice the amount of nominations we did last year, which also shows the appetite from the investment community to share deals. Altogether our 12 finalists represent US$48 million investment opportunities, as they impact the lives of 1,240,000 people in need and serve 22,300 businesses.”

All ventures will participate in a virtual pitching event on June 3rd, 2021, then attend the SDG Finance Geneva Summit, during the Building Bridges Week in late November 2021.

The 2020 Call for Nominations only accepted impact ventures having raised at least USD 500 K, providing products and services for low-income people which reduce inequalities (with particular attention to gender inequalities) through better access to quality health, affordable and clean energy, and by reducing and recovering waste.

Only ventures nominated by third parties (accelerators, impact funds, family offices, international organizations, etc.) and with headquarters, primary workforce, and service provision or product market in developing countries were eligible for the selection.

“We strongly believe in the value of our selection process. We have the capacity to screen a gold mine of innovators that are shaping the new economy in developing countries,” said Sarah Bel, UNDP SDG Finance Geneva Summit manager.

“The 2019 GSIV alumni increased their annual revenues by 39% in 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis. 50 % of them raised at least one equity round in 2020, up to $5 million. The pipeline we built is a great avenue to redirect large amounts of capital towards transformational impact investing.”

The GSIV selection takes place within the framework of the UNDP SDG Finance Geneva Summit to promote SDG-aligned investments, showcasing emerging market examples of businesses that do well by doing good.

UNDP aims to catalyze a shift of capital from mainstream finance to impact investing with a focus on addressing the SDGs.

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