Toronto, March 8, 2023 – Convergence awarded a proof-of-concept grant to Beyond Finance Consulting Limited for enabling access to finance for climate resilient solutions benefitting women in Asia and Africa. The grant is supporting the design and launch of the Beyond Finance Asia-Pacific Facility, an $80 million blended private debt fund and technical assistance facility, that invests in companies that primarily serve women, including companies led or founded by women in Asia and Africa. The grant is awarded through Convergence’s Gender-Responsive Climate Finance Design Funding Window, funded by Global Affairs Canada.
Women constitute a growing segment of consumers. According to the 2X Challenge, women constitute the world’s largest emerging market, more than twice the size of India and China combined. However, women in low-income communities in emerging countries face barriers when accessing a range of affordable products and services, for instance they are more likely to have less or no access to clean energy, and water and sanitation. In sectors where they represent a huge part of the workforce, such as sustainable agriculture, they are often excluded from managerial positions, funding, and may not possess collateral. Failing to understand and serve the needs of women in emerging countries represents a loss of business opportunity and has an adverse impact on the provision of climate smart products and services. Women are prime users of these products and services, but also play a huge role in influencing their communities to adopt best practices. Considering the distinct needs of women as a consumer segment, and fully embracing a gender lens approach, will be critical for improving climate resilience in emerging markets.
“A blended finance structure that offers a compelling proposition for private and public investors, is the type of bold action and innovation we need to unlock the value of applying a gender lens to investments and developing climate resilient solutions in emerging countries,” says Maud Savary-Mornet, co-founder of Beyond Finance.
“Giving access to clean water and clean energy to women in emerging markets while empowering them and giving them a voice in the design of products and services is fundamental for gender equality and climate resilience,” says Camille Huret, co-founder of Beyond Finance.
The Beyond Finance Asia-Pacific Facility will provide private debt to companies in emerging Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. It will operate alongside a technical assistance facility with a core focus on the food- water-energy nexus and financial inclusion in frontier markets that will aim to develop better-designed climate smart solutions by applying a gender lens. While the technical assistance facility will support investees in identifying and meeting targets related to climate change and gender equality, the fund will offer innovative financing mechanisms such as KPI-linked loans to encourage investees to achieve their pre-agreed gender and climate related targets.
"We know that women are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change and we know that women-owned SMEs have a harder time securing investment. Beyond Finance's blended finance solution manages to target both issues," says Joan Larrea, CEO at Convergence, "The fact that Beyond Finance is a first-time fund manager and an all women team makes their case even more compelling."
Beyond Finance Consulting Limited received a Convergence feasibility study grant for the same solution under the Indo-Pacific Design Funding Window (funded by the Australian government). For the proof-of-concept, Beyond Finance intends to build on the progress made at the feasibility study stage and will utilize the grant funding to complete all design activities and prepare the facility for launch.
About Beyond Finance Consulting Ltd
Beyond Finance Consulting Ltd is a Hong Kong based consulting firm founded by Maud Savary-Mornet. Ms. Savary-Mornet has 30 years of experience in investment in emerging Asia across regulation, management, and fundraising. Maud is supported by Camille Huret who is a Strategic Advisor to Beyond Finance and has 17 years of experience in financial sector and impact investing, having structured and/or sourced private debt investment across the globe in sectors such as Financial Inclusion, Sustainable Agriculture and WASH. The team is also supported by Aurélie Madé, Senior Adviser to Beyond Finance, who brings expertise in blended finance and portfolio management and 15 years of experience in financial markets.
About Convergence’s Design Funding Program
Convergence’s Design Funding Program operates as a market acceleration tool providing early-stage capital to support blended finance solutions in frontier markets and nascent sectors to accelerate the number of investible transactions in market targeting SDGs. The Gender-Responsive Climate Finance Window, funded by the Government of Canada, provides grant funding for the design, and launch of innovative blended finance solutions focused on the intersection of climate change and gender equality in emerging markets globally. Please visit Convergence’s Design Funding page for information on submission deadlines as well as other open windows.
Convergence is the global network for blended finance. On top of market acceleration through its Design Funding program, Convergence generates blended finance data, intelligence, and deal flow to increase private sector investment in developing countries. Convergence’s global membership includes nearly 200 public, private, and philanthropic investors as well as sponsors of transactions and funds. To learn more, visit www.convergence.finance