Finance in Motion celebrates 10 years of generating impact in low and middle-income countries

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EUR 4 billion investments unleashed through funds to create long-lasting impact.

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12/09/2019 |
  • FiM Kranich2

Global impact asset manager Finance in Motion is celebrating 10 years of making a positive difference for people and planet. Through investments in micro and small business finance, energy and natural resource efficiency, and renewable energy as well as conservation finance across 30 countries, the company and the impact funds it advises have unleashed more than EUR 4 billion toward promoting sustainable development in low and middle-income countries. These efforts have resulted in, for example, annual savings of nearly 700,000 metric tons of CO2 and facilitating responsible financing to support well over a million small local businesses and low-income households. Today, the company has over EUR 2 billion in assets under advisory/management, and its more than 200 employees support on-the-ground operations from 17 offices around the world.

Finance in Motion was founded in 2009 with the core belief that financial returns can go hand-in-hand with social and environmental benefits. The company develops and advises impact investment funds that provide financing to achieve sustainable development goals in Southeast Europe, the Eastern Neighborhood Region, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. To channel capital into these regions, Finance in Motion was an early pioneer of the “public-private partnership” model – a layered fund structure that leverages public contributions as a risk cushion to mobilize private investments for a range of impact goals. Among the funds’ donors and investors are the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission, and Germany’s KfW Development Bank, as well as international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank, EBRD, IFC, IDB, and FMO, along with private investors including GLS Bank, ASN Bank, and several others.

The investment activities of the funds are complemented by technical assistance that builds capacities, creates awareness and conducts research, thereby maximizing outreach and anchoring the funds’ impact into the surrounding environment. To date, Finance in Motion has worked with over 300 institutions to implement more than 1,000 technical assistance projects across four continents.

Managing Director Sylvia Wisniwski said: “It has been a remarkable journey. Back in 2009, the term ‘impact investment’ was just being coined. The idea of establishing for-profit investment funds whose very mandate was to generate positive returns for people and planet was just getting started. We are proud to have been among the forerunners in developing concepts for impact investment, and of the achievements of the funds so far. In the meantime, impact investing has really gained momentum; we hope that this public awareness will continue to grow and one day soon, impact investing may even be called mainstream.”

Managing Director Elvira Lefting commented: “Speaking of gaining momentum, we also see technical assistance as a crucial element of making impact ‘stick’. Financial investments are important to generating positive change; equally important is the nonfinancial support that helps anchor and amplify these investments, creating an environment in which social and environmental benefits can last for the long term. This support comes in many forms – whether through, for example, training provided to entrepreneurs to help them implement sustainable practices in their business operations, or an international conference spreading awareness of best practices for financial inclusion.”

Managing Director Christoph Freytag continued: “As diverse as our activities are, so too is our workforce. Staff diversity has always been one of Finance in Motion’s strengths. We now number more than 200 employees from 53 countries, with equal gender representation across all levels of management. Finance in Motion is only ten years old and yet has been growing at a strong rate; I believe that one of these reasons is because everyone is committed to an open corporate culture that welcomes and nourishes talent regardless of background, gender, sexual orientation, age, or beliefs.”

Managing Director Florian Meister added: “We would like to thank the dedicated partners and investors whose commitment over the years has enabled us to grow and expand our impact around the world. From protecting natural forests in El Salvador to financing wind energy in Serbia to establishing a new microfinance institution to support Tunisian entrepreneurs, the results of their trust and collaboration are satisfying to see. And with a team that is passionate about impact investing, we are looking forward to seeing what the next ten years have in store.”

The impact funds advised by Finance in Motion include the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), with over EUR 2.7 billion in cumulative investments to foster micro and small enterprises, and the Green for Growth Fund, which has invested over EUR 800 million to advance energy and resource efficiency. The SANAD Fund for MSME has been promoting prosperity and employment through its now more than USD 400 million in debt financing and five equity investments in local financial institutions that serve small businesses. The eco.business Fund has channeled more than USD 300 million into sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and climate action. Most recently, Finance in Motion launched the Arbaro Fund for sustainable forestry in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the company has made selected direct investments in impactful enterprises that share its commitment to social and environmental development, such as GreenTec Capital Partners, which invests in African startups, and Aqua-Spark, supporting sustainable aquaculture.

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