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:
2X Toolkit & 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.
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.
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.
The next phase of this initiative, focused on additional tailored support to the participating businesses, continues through 2022 under FinDev Canada’s leadership and with funding from the Agence Française de Développement (via its subsidiary Proparco).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org