Belgian impact fund backs the entrepreneurial spirit on the Indian countryside
Belgian impact investor Incofin IM raises 50 million euros in a first investment round for its new impact fund focused on rural development in India. The fund makes private equity investments in the Indian agri food value chain and in financial inclusion for rural entrepreneurs in India. The fund made its first investments in three promising startups. The committed capital comes from a diverse set of private and institutional investors including Korys, CDC, Proparco, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), the SDG Frontier Fund, the King Baudouin Foundation and several Belgian family offices.
India as an impact investment destination holds great promise. It is a country with an aspirational, young population (86% of the population is younger than 55 years) focused on enriching their lives through hard work and entrepreneurship. At the same time, the country faces serious challenges like inequality (gender, education, family wealth) and a lack of technology, organised supply chains, and access to capital. Although 65% of India’s population lives in rural areas, private equity investments have largely focused on urban companies. As a result, many budding entrepreneurs fail to realise their full potential.
The Incofin India Progress Fund (IPF), wants to change this and supports these promising entrepreneurs to increase their chances of success through patient capital, mentoring and access to a global network. IPF will focus on two sectors which make the deepest social impact in the Indian context - financial inclusion and the agri-food value chain.
Agri food value chain
Today, vegetables or grains often pass through many intermediaries before they reach the store. The long food chain entails more costs and causes a lot of food waste. There are plenty of smaller aggrotech companies that can shorten the supply chain but they have difficulties to access capital. The Incofin India Progress Fund has the ambition to help filling that gap. A more efficient supply chain with fewer handling points will also lead to more transparency and a reduction in food wastages.
BIO has just published a call for tender for the next 3 Development Effectiveness Evaluations (period 2022- 2024), including a detailed Terms of Reference for the next evaluation that will focus on “BIO’s contribution to SDG10 – Reduced inequality and inclusive businesses”.
During a launch ceremony at Résidence de Belgique in Abidjan, last Thursday, October 14, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) celebrated the opening of its first African office in Abidjan.
On the 27th of September 2021, Oxfam Belgium published the report ″Fuelling human rights violations″ addressing the problematic consequences of a bioethanol project co-financed by BIO. Oxfam's testimonies on the excesses concerning environment and health are mostly dated after 2015, two years after Maple Etanol prematurely reimbursed BIO and left our portfolio. Since then BIO no longer had access to the monitoring reports either.