SEAF Launches SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund

Washington – Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) announces the closing of SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund for Southeast Asia, in partnership with Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australia Government to catalyze inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction in South East Asia.
The SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund will apply SEAF’s gender lens approach to make equity and quasi-equity investments of generally between $1 million and $2.5 million in women-led businesses in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. SEAF will also seek co-investment on a case by case basis from its global Flex Accounts.

For more information on the program, visit www.seaf.com/seaf-womens-opportunity-fund.

In addition to gender inclusion, the Fund’s investment thesis targets growth-oriented companies that can scale to produce commercial, risk-adjusted financial returns along with clear and measurable social and environmental impact. The Women’s Opportunity Fund will be sector agnostic, but is expected to make investments that involve other key impact themes beyond gender such as job creation, sustainable agribusiness, healthcare, education and environmental sustainability.

“SEAF is pleased to launch the Women’s Opportunity Fund, recognizing the untapped potential of women entrepreneurs due to the significant gender financing gap that exists globally,” said Bob Webster, Managing Director of Impact Investing Strategy at SEAF. “We believe that the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia are excellent markets for the Fund, given their projected high growth rates over the next five years and the outstanding women entrepreneurs in the region.”

“The Women’s Opportunity Fund is an important step in SEAF’s pursuit of its mission of investing in underserved markets and sectors globally,” said Bert van der Vaart, CEO of SEAF. “Our research has shown that women-led businesses present an excellent opportunity to realize both superior financial returns and significant social and environmental impact. SEAF will seek to build off the success of this first stage initiative, as well as its already extensive experience with women entrepreneurs, to scale to a larger regional and ultimately global fund focusing on women-led businesses. ”

“The Women’s Opportunity Fund will assist us to understand how impact investors can best serve the needs of women-led businesses. This is an important step in addressing the enormous deficit in financial services for women entrepreneurs,” said Julia Newton-Howes, CEO of Investing in Women. “We are very pleased and excited for the formalization of this partnership with SEAF which will stimulate greater economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in emerging markets, and help to identify areas for further exploration and action,” she adds.

SEAF has established local investment teams in Vietnam and the Philippines and will work in cooperation with Sovereign’s Capital in Indonesia. The Women’s Opportunity Fund will be integrated into SEAF’s global investment organization and will comply with SEAF’s global environmental, social and governance standards. The local SEAF teams will also provide substantial post-investment support, particularly in the areas of financial management and governance.


About SEAF

SEAF is an SEC registered, impact investment fund manager, investing risk capital and providing business support to growth-oriented SMEs in frontier and emerging markets. Having made more than $400 million in SME investments across a wide range of sectors, SEAF funds seek to deliver both financial returns and social and environmental impact for investors. SEAF, which is based in Washington, D.C., has managed over 35 investment funds and vehicles over 28 years and across 27 countries. SEAF also operates the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development – CEED – an entrepreneur-focused program that provides advisory, mentoring, and networking opportunities across 13 global locations. www.seaf.com and www.ceed-global.org.


About Investing in Women

Investing in Women is an Australian Government initiative to catalyze inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction in South East Asia. The program’s goals are to improve women’s participation in the workforce and as business leaders; enhance women’s voice in decision making and leadership; and influence the private and public sectors to recognize and promote the value of gender equality. www.investinginwomen.asia.

For more information on the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund, please contact Bob Webster at rwebster@seaf.com or +1-202-737-8463
For more information on Investing in Women, please contact Julia Newton-Howes at julia.newton-howes@investinginwomen.asia.