FinDev Canada has launched a Technical Assistance Facility to work closely with its clients, as well as market-level initiatives, to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth, especially for women. The Facility’s goals sit squarely within FinDev Canada’s mandate to empower women, mitigate climate change, and develop the emerging markets in which we work.
What we do
At FinDev Canada, we believe that Technical Assistance (TA) is a critical tool which complements our investment activities and enables us to advance our development impact objectives. Our TA Facility was established in 2020 with support from Global Affairs Canada. The main objectives of the Facility are to strengthen private sector entities, making them more proactive and inclusive agents in their respective markets; and to advance market-development initiatives which address broader constraints to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
We work closely with our clients to deepen their abilities to transform, deliver more value to end customers, and increase their competitive edge. We understand that our clients and other private sector entities operate in complex ecosystems. Therefore, supporting collaborative market-level initiatives which fill knowledge gaps and bring efficiencies to the sector is also important to catalyze broader change.
The Technical Assistance Facility concentrates its activities across three focus areas:
|Gender Action: In line with FinDev Canada’s main development impact focus, the TA Facility emphasizes projects that advance gender inclusion and diversity practices, driving greater women’s economic empowerment. Projects may target inclusive governance, leadership, and workforce, as well as value-chain or product development. We also work on initiatives that contribute to growing the gender lens investment movement.|
|Impactful Data: We support clients in establishing systems and capabilities for the strategic collection and analysis of data to be more efficient or to develop a competitive advantage. In addition, we support market-level initiatives that advance data-driven impact investment practices such as models for consistent impact measurement, training toolkits, etc.|
|Business Performance: More generally, we work to strengthen select business functions within companies to enable them to align with global best practices. This can include improvements to environmental and social risk management systems, human resources management, digital capabilities, etc.|
How we work
At the Facility, we adhere to the following guiding principles throughout project design and implementation:
Africa Forestry Fund II
The Africa Forestry Fund II (AFF II) is managed by Criterion Africa Partners (CAP), a private equity firm which supports innovative and high-potential forestry companies, to enhance their productivity, and create value for a range of stakeholders. This TA project will support CAP assess companies from Fund I, to highlight the success factors and challenges related to achieving gender action. These insights will then inform how CAP supports gender action implementation in the portfolio companies of Fund II. Additionally, a research dissemination component will ensure that the Fund’s learnings and best practices are shared across the forestry sector and beyond.
Alitheia IDF Fund
The Alitheia IDF Fund (AIF) is a 2X Flagship fund focused on supporting women-owned small and Medium enterprises (WSMEs) in Africa. This TA project will support training of AIF’s Investment and ESG Officers, review and revision of the Fund’s existing ESG tools, and build the capacity of AIF staff to support portfolio companies as they implement their own ESMS and reporting systems.
AVLA is a large Latin American financial institution with operations in Chile, Peru, and Mexico. The institution undertook the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles assessment (UN WEPs) in 2021, following which, AVLA’s leadership made several commitments around gender inclusion; both internally to strengthen the workforce, and externally to reach more women customers. This TA project will support AVLA fulfill some of the prioritized activities:
- Implement a coaching program for women leaders;
- Conduct a survey to understand customer experiences; and
- Implement a series of virtual customer engagement events which will offer AVLA the opportunity to connect with current and potential clients, and more importantly, offer the targeted women-owned or -led SMEs (WSMEs) access to information for business growth.
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BNCR) is a state-owned bank and the largest in Costa Rica. As part of BNCR’s efforts to continue serving WMSMEs, this TA project includes:
- A comprehensive review of BNCR’s WMSME strategy, including portfolio and market analyses, review of the bank’s current WMSME activities, and development of a refreshed strategy and action plan;
- Training for the sales force and key leaders to reinforce the WMSME strategy and create an internal culture of non-discrimination and gender equity; and
- Client facing activities to build the skills and capabilities of women entrepreneurs and create a network among them.
Banco Sofisa (Sofisa) is a mid-sized Brazilian bank focused exclusively on serving SMEs. The TA project consists of three phases:
- Enhancement of the bank’s E&S risk management practices;
- Mapping of the bank’s SME portfolio through which Sofisa will better understand how it can expand their outreach to the particular market segment; and
- Development of a gender action strategy to promote gender equality in the bank’s workplace.
Cooperativa Pacifico (Pacifico) is Peru’s largest financial cooperative. Since 2021, Pacifico has made impressive strides in establishing a Gender Equality Committee and developing a gender action strategy and implementation plan. This TA project will support the implementation of key internal and client-facing activities, including staff training on gender equality and biases; review and development of HR and communications policies; and market research to support the product development team pilot new products and services for women customers.
Danper Peru is a woman-led agribusiness that produces high-value crops for export. Located in the Peruvian desert, the company uses unique agriculture practices to ensure sustainable use of resources. They are a leader in social and environmental practices and measure their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using ISO 14064 auditing. However, the measurement approach does not account for carbon sequestration by the crops. This TA project will enable Danper to create an easy-to-use tool to measure carbon sequestration, to more accurately reflect the company’s total emissions. Danper employees will be trained on how to use the tool so it can be applied across the company and repeated as needed.
EcoEnterprises Fund III (EEFIII)
EEF III is a women-led and -managed private equity fund offering tailored growth capital and strategic advisory support to innovative sustainable businesses in Latin America to scale and optimize their impact. To further advance the overall business performance of the Fund Manager and its portfolio companies, the TA project is aimed at:
- Enhancing the Fund Manager’s Environmental and Social (E&S) risk management capabilities, and
- Supporting the portfolio companies’ capabilities on gender equality, E&S risk management, and climate change adaptation.
Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund
The Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund (EEGF) was established with the aim to address lack of access to energy (A2E) and climate change. The nascent stage of the A2E sector in general, and the early to mid-stage nature of the EEGF investees more specifically, require an approach that pairs investments to active support and capacity development. As such, EEGF established a Technical Assistance Facility to support portfolio companies on their scale and impact journeys. This TA Facility is intended to provide core business support, as well as specialized support related to E&S and Impact, to ensure that the companies are able to sustainably provide reliable access to energy to excluded and/or underserved populations. The Fund is also committed to engaging with peers, and contributing lessons learned to the sector at large. FinDev Canada’s contributions will support EEGF’s TA Facility across its activities.
JCM Power Corporation
JCM is a Canadian independent power producer dedicated to accelerating social, economic, and environmental sustainability in developing countries through the development, construction, and operation of renewable energy projects. FinDev Canada, together with JCM’s other investors (FMO, IFU, and SwedFund), supported a collaborative TA project with the following objectives:
- Develop and implement a Gender Action Plan for JCM at the corporate level; and
- Conduct GBVH specific assessments and training for project companies in Malawi and Pakistan.
MIRO Forestry is a triple bottom line forestry business with operations in West Africa. The company’s mission is to develop and operate high-quality and cost-competitive commercial forestry, while providing environmental, social, and economic benefits to local communities. This TA project builds on the efforts MIRO has undertaken over the last three years to strengthen its overall human resources policies and practices, to create a more gender-inclusive, safe, and productive workplace environment for its employees.
PC Capital is a leading Investment Banking and Private Equity firm in Mexico, focused on high-growth social impact opportunities. The TA project with the client includes activities which aim to integrate more advanced E&S and Gender lens in the client’s activities. Training will ensure that there is internal capacity to sustain the efforts.
Produbanco is Ecuador’s third largest bank, with broad focus on SMEs, corporates, and individual clients. Over the last 5+ years, Produbanco has deepened its focus on sustainability by designing specific credit products which fall under the category. The bank sees this portfolio poised for further growth, and understands that business development support (BDS) can generate demand from the relevant customer segment. This TA project will enable the bank to pilot a BDS program with selected SME clients, and also avail training to internal staff so that the program can be scaled across the portfolio.
2X Fund Manager Training
FinDev Canada has learned that many fund managers require support to apply a gender lens to their investment strategy and in turn, support their portfolio companies become more gender inclusive. In response, FinDev Canada’s TA Facility led the development of a training toolkit to guide fund managers in incorporating a gender lens into their investment processes using the 2X Challenge criteria. The toolkit includes concrete examples, case studies and practical exercises that encourage fund managers to take actionable steps to building their internal gender lens investing action plans and was piloted with FinDev Canada fund investees. The training toolkit will be uploaded to an online learning platform for use with clients and the wider gender lens investing industry. The training toolkit is available for free in English and French on the FinDev Canada website.
2X Plus Framework for Development Finance Institutions
The 2X Collaborative is home to several taskforces which address specific gender topics, one of them being the 2X Plus Taskforce, formed following the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, to address the nexus of gender and other forms of diversity. This is referred to as intersectionality, i.e., the interaction of various forms of diversity or identity factors, such as race, class, and age. The intersecting identities can create compounding challenges for individuals and women and as such, the 2X Plus taskforce defined the need for a framework to use alongside the 2X Criteria, to understand and address the barriers different groups face in society, the workplace, and/or in accessing financial services. This market development TA project will support the development of the framework.
Climate Policy Initiative
Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) is a multi-faceted organization with focus on climate change policy and finance. On one hand, CPI conducts market analyses and serves as a think tank and facilitator among key stakeholders in the public, private, and non-profit arenas; while on the other hand, CPI designs and implements new financing solutions which are aimed at unlocking capital towards sectors and market segments that are at the forefront of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Given the need for innovation in climate finance, CPI launched the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab). The Lab acts very much like an incubator; identifying, developing, and launching financial instruments which are betting on new operating models and strategies to drastically scale access to capital in the face of climate change. Over the last seven years, the Lab has successfully launched 55 financial instruments, including one that is now a client of FinDev Canada, Climate Investor One. The Lab has supported ideas in particular themes such as, Renewable Energy Access, Sustainable Food Systems, and Sustainable Cities. It has not, however, explicitly looked at gender-responsiveness in climate-finance solutions. The partnership between FinDev Canada and CPI will lead to the launch of a Gender Equality stream within the Lab’s annual Call for Ideas.
DFI Roadmap to Reduce GBVH
This project stems from the recognition that COVID-19 has led to an increase in gender based violence and harassment (GBVH) globally, and there is an urgency with which a wide range of stakeholders can activate the tools and resources at their disposal to mitigate the crisis. DFIs have a key role to play in catalyzing action, given their unparalleled ability to mobilize capital and commitments for gender equality from the private sector, as proven by the 2X Challenge. Building on this momentum, the Criterion Institute, with guidance from 2X Challenge members, is developing approaches through which DFIs can proactively address GBVH with their investees.
E&S Framework for the Solar Supply Chain
FinDev Canada has joined a group of peer DFIs to develop risk assessment approaches and management tools, specifically for use by clients exposed to human rights violations, and related risks, in the solar panel supply chain. The outputs will build clients’ human rights risk management capacity, and ultimately reduce our portfolio risk exposure. FinDev Canada’s E&S Risk team will also implement the recommended changes to our current due diligence and monitoring processes, modifying procedures and developing training to ensure sustainable implementation and continuous improvement.
Fund Design Workshop
In 2020, FinDev Canada, together with UN Women and Lelapa, hosted a workshop with DFIs and women-led and -managed fund managers to brainstorm solutions for the challenges faced by gender lens investors, especially as they raise capital. These challenges remain despite an increasing number of gender lens investment funds and initiatives like the 2X Challenge which are encouraging DFIs to make ambitious commitments towards women’s economic empowerment. The workshop offered an open and equalizing approach of exchange between fund managers and investors to generate important insights on why traditional fund structures are a hindrance to the flow of capital to WSMEs. These insights have been summarized in a publication and shared with the broader DFI and impact investing community.
Invest2Impact is a 2X Challenge initiative spearheaded by FinDev Canada and supported by peer institutions and funders. The initiative launched a business competition in 2019 which identified 100 high-potential women-owned and -operated businesses from five East African countries, representing diverse industries. In 2020, to support the businesses as they adapted to the challenges and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic, FinDev Canada’s TA Facility managed a capacity building program which:
- Provided access to business tools for strategic information management, coaching webinars on topics such as access to finance, social media, and digitization of operations, and mentorship sessions where participants could discuss their specific challenges and develop creative solutions with peers, and
- Created a virtual network for women to share resources and opportunities, especially critical as the COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses across the board.
In 2021-2022, additional support was provided to the participants on investment readiness. Activities included development of profiles and pitches for investors, pitch practices, peer counselling, and tailored consulting focused on strategic business improvements. This support was funded by the Agence Française de Développement (via its subsidiary Proparco) coordinated by FinDev Canada.
Joint Impact Model
The Joint Impact Model (JIM) was established in 2019 when six DFIs (CDC, Proparco, FMO, BIO, AfDB, and FinDev Canada) came together to develop a harmonized model to enable impact investors measure and report on indirect impacts of their portfolios. Since then, the partners have combined their approaches, harmonized indicators, and built an interface to take the model to scale. Several other organizations have also joined the effort, expanding JIM’s access significantly. Beyond our initial engagmenet, FinDev Canada has also supported the development of a new module, specifically to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of investment portfolios in alignment with the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). The PCAF-JIM partnership was officially announced during the COP26 week in Glasgow.
The TA Facility is funded by Global Affairs Canada for a period of three years, 2020 - 2023. GAC’s partnership and funding has been critical for establishing the Facility. It is enabling us to implement a significant number of projects through which we can demonstrate the value of TA and expand FinDev Canada’s ability to collaborate more holistically with investees and market-level stakeholders. The partnership with GAC also enables FinDev Canada to contribute to Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP).
What is Technical Assistance?
Technical Assistance is targeted grant support to private sector clients that, directly or indirectly, improves their development outcomes. TA at the market level addresses gaps in knowledge or tools and seeks to support the business environments in the countries, regions, or sectors in which we operate.
The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines TA as:
Capacity-building is a versatile, widely applicable tool that offers direct benefits to both investors and investees. It addresses a range of needs, including human resources development; impact targeting, measurement, and reporting; and technical and/or specialized support. When applied well, it improves investor competitiveness, enhances business performance of investees, expands impact for beneficiaries, and strengthens markets and sectors.
— GIIN, Beyond Investment: The Power of Capacity Building Support, 2017
What are some examples of a TA project?
Enhancing women’s economic empowerment, a development impact priority for FinDev Canada, might include supporting a client to conduct a gender assessment of its operations, then developing an appropriate strategy and action plan for improvement. In another area, we might suggest the services of experts to put in place policies and practices that better identify, manage, and mitigate environmental or social risk in a client’s operations.
Elsewhere, we might develop training toolkits or workshops to improve knowledge on gender lens investing or contribute to industry-wide initiatives to improve impact data reporting. In all circumstances, our Technical Assistance work is developed collaboratively with clients and partners to ensure their buy-in and commitment to achieving measurable improvement goals and long-term impact.
For examples of current TA projects, please see the Portfolio section above.
How does FinDev Canada originate TA projects?
Client-facing TA projects are initially identified through discussions with clients to see if TA can support impact or business targets. When a potential project is identified, the TA Facility staff will invite the client to submit a proposal. Market development TA projects can be developed by FinDev Canada alone or in partnership with other DFIs or actors in the impact investing space.
How does FinDev Canada decide whether to undertake a TA project?
Any engagement on Technical Assistance must follow these criteria:
- Projects must occur in FinDev Canada’s priority investment areas. This means projects in the private sector located in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, or the Caribbean that drive green growth, strengthen the agribusiness value chain, or involve the financial services industry and its support to small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Projects must fall under at least one of the Technical Assistance Facility’s three focus areas of gender action, impactful data, and business performance.
- Projects must adhere to the guiding principles.
Individual TA project proposals will also be assessed based on client readiness, the potential to achieve development objectives, and the potential to learn lessons and share knowledge. Other TA projects, designed to enhance the development of markets will be prioritized based on alignment with FinDev Canada’s development impact priorities and opportunities for collaboration. For the latter, we are keen to learn about potential sectoral or industry opportunities.
For client-facing TA projects, does FinDev Canada engage with clients before or after closing of the deal?
While the potential scope of TA projects may be discussed in the very advanced stages of transaction discussion and prior to closing of the deal, in most cases, projects are expected to be finalized post-closing and project activities commence at that stage.
How is the TA Facility governed and managed?
The TA Facility sits within the Impact Enablement team at FinDev Canada. The Facility has two advisory committees that offer strategic guidance. The Steering Committee, comprised of FinDev Canada leadership and a representative of Global Affairs Canada, oversees annual work plans, budgets, and progress of the Facility. The Technical Assistance Committee, comprised of FinDev Canada leadership and two external experts, meets monthly to approve projects and advise on strategic direction and opportunities for the Facility.
How can service providers or consultants specializing in one or more of FinDev Canada’s Technical Assistance priority areas work with the TA Facility?
FinDev Canada supports the use of local and regional service providers to carry out TA assignments, to the extent possible. If you are a service provider and would like to tell us more about your areas of work, please send us a brief email with the following information. We will keep this information for reference purposes. Please note that having your information does not constitute a guarantee of work.
- Area(s) of specialization
- Gender equality (gender action plans, gender & diversity policies, training, etc.)
- Impactful data (data systems, collection and analysis)
- Environment and social issues (E&S risk management, policies, training, occupational health and safety, etc.)
- Business performance (market research & analysis, product/service development, supply chain management, etc.)
- Climate mitigation and/or adaptation
- Other (please describe)
- Industries/sectors of specialization
- Agribusiness or forestry
- Financial services (across a range of institutions)
- Green growth
- Other (please describe)
- Countries or regions of focus and presence
- Language capabilities for project implementation
- Contact person, email
What is the best way to contact FinDev Canada’s Technical Assistance Facility?
If you are a current client, please speak with your Investment Officer about your interest in Technical Assistance support. If you are not currently a client of FinDev Canada, for any queries or suggestions about the TA Facility, please send an e/mail to: email@example.com