AV Ventures is ACDI/VOCA’s for-profit subsidiary. AV Ventures provides innovative, catalytic financing to agribusiness small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in West Africa and Central Asia. Such investments provide better economic opportunities for communities and generate social impact through inclusive, responsible supply chains.
Achieving ACDI/VOCA’s mission requires facilitating access to finance for farmer groups, enterprises, and communities through sound business practices. Over the last decade, we have led a global shift among donors and practitioners to strengthen whole value chains in which the poor participate, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that offer markets for farmers.
Today, despite progress, a “missing middle” remains in financing. SMEs lack financing because they are too large for microfinance institutions but too small for large investors. These viable businesses would benefit from patient capital, or longer-term, more flexible financial products and technical assistance to invest, upgrade, and grow.
AV Ventures aims to close this gap by providing financing and technical assistance to agribusiness SMEs in select emerging markets where we work.
At a Glance
ACDI/VOCA’s subsidiary, AV Ventures LLC, helps close this gap and provides innovative, catalytic financing to agribusiness SMEs in select emerging markets where we work. Such investments provide better economic opportunities for communities and generate social impact through more inclusive, responsible supply chains.
Globally, SMEs face a nearly $2 trillion financing gap. While the impact investment sector has grown dramatically over the past five years, over 70 percent of investment funds globally target deals of $250,000 or more. In high-income countries, SMEs are responsible for over 50 percent of GDP and over 60 percent of employment, but in low-income countries they contribute to just 30 percent of employment and 17 percent of GDP. Investing in SMEs through tailored, customized financial products presents a strong market opportunity to fill a demand for financing, as well as economic and social impact through job creation and increased standards of living.
AV Ventures’ investment strategy is to invest patient capital in growing agribusinesses in developing countries to promote markets in which business owners, smallholder farmers, and communities are empowered to succeed. Our pilot funds in Ghana and Central Asia (Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) focus on SMEs that show significant potential for growth and impact, particularly for small-scale farmers.
“In the case for professional volunteer service organizations (i.e. PUM, IESC, ACDI/VOCA, SES etc.) – its transfer of knowledge is as crucial as the committed capital investment to enterprises. Next to that, these organizations have a wealth of data, network and track-record in advising enterprises around the globe.”– Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)
Progress along social and economic metrics are a substantial indicator of AV Ventures’ investments’ overall performance. Anticipated social and economic outcomes, such as increased sourcing from smallholder farmers, servicing smallholder farmers, environmental responsibility, and job creation, will inform investment decisions, be monitored, and reported post-investment alongside financial metrics through customized impact measurement frameworks.