Posted on June 5, 2019 | Updated at 9AM

2X Challenge members launch business competition in Africa

Vancouver, British Columbia – June 04, 2019 – Leading development finance institutions (DFIs) including FinDev Canada, CDC Group (CDC) of the United Kingdom, Proparco of France and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the United States along with the Mastercard Foundation, announced today at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference that they are joining forces to sponsor the 2X Invest2Impact – Business Competition. The purpose of the competition is to support the growth of high potential, women-owned businesses to increase their commerciality and impact. This major new initiative will support women entrepreneurs who have the potential to make a positive impact on their local economies and are strong candidates for investments from development financiers.

While there is no shortage of business competitions on the African continent, and many women-focused entrepreneurial forums, programs, and initiatives, 2X Invest2Impact will stand out by focusing on growth stage women-owned businesses, poised for investment capital. 2X Invest2Impact will provide them with mentorships, business development services, visibility and the opportunity for funding.

“The credit gap for women-owned SMEs globally is estimated at $287 billion. This means that 70 percent of women owned SMEs cannot access the financing they need to grow a business. This competition aims to directly address this,” said Paul Lamontagne, Managing Director of FinDev Canada. 

“We also know that there is a persistent disconnect between investors and development financiers who are seeking to invest in women-owned businesses and those women owners who are looking to grow their companies.  Our 2X Invest2Impact initiative will help bridge that gap by bringing high-quality women-owned businesses together with interested investors,“ noted Jen Braswell, Director, Value Creation Strategies, CDC.

The goals of 2X Invest2Impact are to:

•    Directly reach women-owned businesses that may otherwise face barriers in accessing investment capital;
•    Contribute to the community of women business owners and leaders in the region; 
•    Gather and share learnings on women in business and gender-lens investing;
•    Increase visibility and momentum for gender-lens investing; and
•    Pilot an investment prospecting model that could be replicated in other regions.

“Africa is home to more female entrepreneurs than any region in the world. Through 2X Invest2Impact, OPIC is proud to join its 2X Challenge partners and Mastercard Foundation in providing a platform for female entrepreneurs to showcase their successful enterprises and to access critical expansion capital. We are not only reaching these female entrepreneurs but also showing the world what African women can do when they are empowered,” said Kathryn Kaufman, OPIC Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues.

“The Mastercard Foundation is pleased to support this exciting business competition.  We know that when we support women entrepreneurs, there is a positive impact in the community.  This competition will drive employment and growth,” added Lindsay Wallace, Director of Strategy and Learning, Mastercard Foundation.

The competition will provide value to all entrants, including networking and feedback through insights and benchmarking reports. After an initial application process, twenty-five small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be selected for participation. These contestants will benefit from pitch training, access to webinars, podcasts and other learning tools as well as networking opportunities. Each SME will be assigned a mentor and be promoted during a high-profile and well-publicized closing event.

“We are confident that this will be a turning point for the winners of the competition,” noted Gregory Clemente, CEO, Proparco, “They will benefit from improved access to funding, increased visibility stemming from the media coverage and word of mouth and the hands-on mentorship of a leading entrepreneur in their region. We are also very happy to see them entering into an investment readiness support program, which will help these brilliant women entrepreneurs bring their businesses to new highs.” 

The 2X Challenge

The G7 DFIs – FinDev Canada, the United Kingdom (CDC), the United States (Overseas Private Investment Corporation - OPIC), Italy (Cassa depositi e presiti - Cdp), France (Proparco) and Japan (JBIC and JICA), and Germany (DEG) - established the 2X Challenge at the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Québec. There, a commitment to mobilize US $3 billion by 2020 for investment in business activities that will benefit women was agreed upon. As of May 1, 2019, members of the 2X Challenge estimate an amount in excess of $1 billion already mobilized.

In the year since its announcement four new member nations have joined the 2X Challenge: The Netherlands (Netherlands Development Finance Company), Finland (Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation), Sweden (Swedfund), and Denmark (Investment Fund for Developing Countries) 

CDC

CDC is the UK’s development finance institution. Wholly owned by the UK Government, it invests in Africa and South Asia with the aim of supporting economic development to create jobs. CDC has invested in Africa since 1948.
 
CDC takes a flexible approach and provides capital in all its forms, including equity, debt, mezzanine and guarantees, to meet businesses’ needs and achieve development impact. CDC has net assets of £5.1bn. Find out more at: www.cdcgroup.com and @CDCgroup

FinDev Canada

The Development Finance Institute Canada Inc., operating under the FinDev Canada brand, is a Canadian institution dedicated to providing financial services to the private sector in developing countries with the aim of combating poverty through economic growth by focusing on three main themes: economic development through job creation, women economic empowerment, and climate change mitigation. The Development Finance Institute Canada Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada (EDC). 

Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

OPIC

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. Established in 1971, OPIC provides businesses with the tools to manage the risks associated with foreign direct investment, fosters economic development in emerging market countries, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. OPIC helps American businesses gain footholds in new markets, catalyzes new revenues and contributes to jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC fulfills its mission by providing businesses with financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and by partnering with private equity fund managers.

OPIC services are available to new and expanding businesses planning to invest in more than 160 countries worldwide. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers. All OPIC projects must adhere to best international practices and cannot cause job loss in the United States.

Proparco

Proparco is a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) focused on private sector development. It has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development practices for the past 40 years. Proparco provides funding and support to both businesses and financial institutions across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle-East. It seeks to partner projects in key development sectors – infrastructure (with a specific focus on renewable energies), agribusiness, financial institutions, healthcare and education, etc. – and to boost the contribution of the private sector to achieving the sustainable development goals adopted by the international community in 2015. As a means to this end, Proparco finances businesses that are instrumental in creating decent jobs that pay decent wages, in supplying essential goods and services and in battling climate change. For more information, go to: http://www.proparco.fr/en and @Proparco.

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For more information, please contact:

FinDev Canada
Angela Rodriguez
Tel: 514-673-7154
Email: arodriguez@findevcanada.ca 

CDC
Rhyddid Carter
Tel: +44 (0) 7824 552 326
Email: rcarter@cdcgroup.com

OPIC
Laura Allen
Tel: (202)357-3976
Email: Laura.Allen@opic.gov 

Proparco
Romain Esperon
Tel:  +33 1 53 44 38 94
Email:  presse@proparco.fr

Mastercard Foundation
Tonya Reid  
Tel: +1 437-992-3432
Email: treid@mastercardfdn.org