Determined to foster investees’ collaboration, Cordaid Investment Management’s team in Sierra Leone brought together an SME and several MFIs to work for mutual benefit and higher social impact.
Together with Easy Solar, the largest solar home systems distributor in Sierra Leone, and eight microfinance institutions our team discussed fresh financing solutions and the future of clean energy access for off-grid communities. With the prospect of MFIs involvement, low-income families will be able to pay in instalments and power up their homes. Micro-entrepreneurs will grow their businesses by equipping shops and cafes with fridges and tv-sets. And both Easy Solar and MFIs will have the chance to scale up their operations.
Our Investment Manager in Sierra Leone Archibald Shodeke explains the benefits of this synergetic approach: “Our investee Easy Solar was piloting an asset financing product in collaboration with a few commercial banks. We realized that MFIs would be more fitting for Easy Solar needs. MFIs have more regional branches and clients in remote rural areas in desperate need of energy access. They can offer better prices and faster services than banks. Preparing a solid ground for discussion, we asked MFIs about their hesitations regarding clean energy financing. We wanted to make sure it is a win-win situation – and now the MFIs can offer a new sustainable financial product and attract more clients.”
And although this offering is still in development, both parties are grateful we fostered that conversation. By bringing the parties together, Cordaid Investment Management has helped to find a creative financing approach for the SME but also inspired MFIs to generate new business ideas.