UN-backed SDG500 to invest $500m in Asia, other emerging markets

Dhaka, Bangladesh. Credit:Flickr/United Nations Photo

A coalition of private and public sector organisations, including United Nations entities and private equity firms, has launched SDG500, a new investment platform that seeks to invest $500 million in businesses in emerging and frontier markets.

The platform is dedicated to helping achieve the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and will offer exposure to six different underlying funds that will be managed by European impact asset manager Bamboo Capital Partners.

In an announcement, Bamboo Capital said the six funds will target businesses in the agriculture, finance, energy, education, and healthcare sectors across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

The funds will use debt and equity to invest at Seed, Series A, and Series B stages in hundreds of businesses, with some of the funds specifically investing in businesses that empower and provide jobs for women.

Among the underlying six funds is the CARE SheTrades Fund, a gender lens fund that will use debt and equity to invest in businesses in Asia.

The other funds are the ABC Fund, an impact investment vehicle targeting smallholder farmers and small and medium agribusinesses in developing countries; BUILD, a fixed-income fund aimed at early-stage enterprises in the least developed countries; BLOC SmartAfrica and BLOC Latin America, venture capital funds targeting technology enterprises in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean; and HEAL, a venture capital fund investing in health tech businesses in emerging and frontier markets.

The launch of SDG500 comes at a time when the financing gap to achieve SDGs by 2030 in developing countries is estimated to be $2.5 trillion per year, according to the announcement.

“The missing middle financing gap is real and it is suffocating early-stage enterprises which have the potential to transform some of the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped regions,” said Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, founder and managing partner at Bamboo Capital Partners.

By working together to finance and scale these businesses, de Schrevel said the SDGs can be achieved.

SDG500’s coalition partners include the United Nations Capital Development Fund, International Trade Centre, International Fund for Agricultural Development, CARE, Smart Africa, Stop TB Partnership, and Bamboo Capital Partners.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.