Scipion and its senior management team are committed to responsible investing and believe this is essential to long term success.
Working closely with SMEs in emerging markets, Scipion is uniquely placed to identify and bring about meaningful and lasting improvements in the Environmental and Social practices of firms and organisations operating in less economically developed countries, and thereby bring about positive changes in the lives of millions of people.
The firm follows an Environmental, Social and Impact (“ESI”) risk management policy which was established, and is continually updated, with the help of expert and independent partners. The policy is implemented by a committee with representatives from the group’s investment and legal team.
The policy requires that each investment is evaluated individually, monitored for its duration and reviewed at appropriate intervals.
The committee has adopted a sophisticated approach that seeks to manage the implicit trade-offs of ESI investing and bring about tangible and significant improvements in the practices of investee firms, drawing upon expert advice where appropriate.
Scipion has provided financing to a grain trading and processing company operating in Uganda whose vision is to feed East Africa sustainable through a regionally-integrated formal system for grain production and exchange that transforms rural lives and creates stakeholder value. Established in 2012, the company sources, processes, and stores maize before selling to off-takers, such as the World Food Programme, across Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. The company’s off-takers use the maize to produce products, including nutrient-enriched, therapeutic food, to meet the nutritional demand of the region’s growing population.
To-date in 2017, the company’s produce has provided a years’ worth of low-cost, high-value food for over 600,000 refugees in East Africa. Additionally, the company sources 80% of its maize from smallholder farmers through one of the company’s holdings, which maintains support centers in western and southern Uganda. These support centers drive tremendous social impact for disadvantaged Ugandan communities by offering farmers a location to sell their maize through a reliable process at fair pricing, as well as providing them access to competitively priced and certified agricultural inputs, knowledge, demonstrations, extension services, and loans for working capital. To date, these centers have provided over 45,000 farmers with agricultural finance, markets and/or inputs.
Scipion has structured and provided financing to an SME Financier, founded in 1995, that has a growing footprint across South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Zambia. SME growth and development is core to economic development in Africa, and the company utilizes its Business Credit services to address the growing demand for small and medium size enterprise (“SME”) funding in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company provides training-tied financing to SMEs across a variety of business sectors that comply with the IFC and European Development Finance Institution exclusion lists. Historically, 93% of SMEs that the company supports had not been able to access formal nor informal credit and 71% of the SME portfolio is owned by Black female vendors. The company’s business model supports its SME clients in securing purchase orders with large corporate businesses,
encouraging these larger businesses to incorporate SMEs into their supply chain and supporting local economic and social development. By sourcing from historically disadvantaged suppliers, such as exempted micro enterprises, qualifying small enterprises, and Black owned and Black women owned vendors, these large corporate businesses are able to improve their Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment scorecard, which provides financial incentives for the company and supports sustainable, equitable development. Alongside financing, the company provides governance, cash flow management, and procurement training and support to its SME clients with the aim of making these businesses more attractive to commercial banks for future financing.
Scipion’s financing will support the expansion of the company’s Business Credit services line, allowing them to finance more SMEs and increasing the opportunity for local SMEs to participate in formal supply chains.