We are faced with parallel, pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges in Colombia.
There are structural, long-standing challenges: inequality, peace and reconciliation, rural development, food security, climate and biodiversity. In 2020, poverty rates in rural areas were 1.5 times higher than in urban areas, while extreme poverty rates were three (3) times higher. The pandemic further exacerbated these challenges. In particular, women, rural regions, and Indigenous communities have faced the most severe social and economic impacts of these crises.
Impact investing is a tool to help tackle these challenges alongside good public policy and community action.
Further, alongside peers around the world, Colombia is seeking to leverage impact investing as an additional tool to address these challenges and to advance sustainable development.
Colombia’s impact investing sector is vibrant and poised to scale. The most recent data from the National Advisory Board (NAB) on impact investing reported that there is $473 million USD in impact investments in the country.
But there is a need to invest in both the systems infrastructure and directly in impact investing funds, organizations and enterprises to help this sector thrive. Although impact enterprises have the potential to transform local economies into true engines of sustainable and inclusive growth, investment levels remain limited for the needs of rural, post-conflict communities. To be successful, impact enterprises need an ecosystem of investors, accelerators, incubators, and service providers. While a number of these actors are present in Colombia, there is a recognized need to support and scale up this ecosystem.
SVX was first conceived in Canada as an idea in 2007. Following a social innovation journey of growth and development, the organization sought mutually beneficial partnerships across Canada and the Americas. Our journey in Colombia began in 2017 with sector leaders and partners at Global Affairs Canada. Over five years of engagement by the SVX Canada and SVX Mexico team, we were able to advance ecosystem development and lay the foundation for establishing operations in 2022. The first key initiative is an investment readiness program: Programa de Apoyo a la Inversión de Impacto en Colombia (PAIIC).
PAIIC provides capital and capacity supports for enterprises, organizations and funds seeking to start or scale their impact, particularly focused on women, climate action, and rural regions in Colombia.
This impact investing infrastructure program will seek to leverage and support the work of existing stakeholders while tactically filling any gaps with resources and new programs. It will be designed and deployed by SVX in collaboration with ecosystem partners.
PAIIC officially launches its accelerator and capacity building programs.
Action Plan leads to the development of PAIIC, funded by GAC and in partnership with local actors.
Study Tour: Colombian, Mexican and Canadian key social finance ecosystem stakeholders meet.
Impact Investing Action Plan supported by GAC, developed with direction from ecosystem stakeholders, including recommending the creation of a NAB.
SVX and GAC begin to work together on scoping and delivering an impact investing market research and engagement project in Colombia.
Project Director, SVX Colombia
Paula has rich experience in alternatives assets and private equity. She found a life purpose working in impact investing. At SVX she is a Project Manager in Colombia. Ask Paula about alternative assets, impact investment in Colombia, and hairstyling.
Toño De La Rosa
Intelligence and Education Manager SVX Mexico
Senior Associate, SVX Canada
Paula is a Senior Associate at SVX where she leads investor and venture education programming. Paula has spent the last few years deeply engaged within Canada’s social innovation ecosystem working within Ontario’s Social Enterprise Unit and the McConnell Foundation. Ask Paula about WOSEN, SVX accelerators, and dystopian fiction.
Stevie Smyth Valdez
Executive Director, SVX Mexico
Stevie is the Executive Director of SVX México, an impact investing advisory firm based in Mexico City, where she is primarily responsible for firm strategy and institutional relations. Stevie has worked with entrepreneurs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the US for more than 10 years in various sectors and specializes in maximizing the use of venture philanthropy to catalyze markets, blended finance structures for investments, and gender lens investing.
CEO, SVX Canada
Adam’s career has focused on advancing social, environmental and economic justice through community action, impact investing, and cross-sectoral systems change. Adam leads on partnerships and strategic projects, while providing support and oversight on education, advisory, fund, and platform activities at SVX. Ask Adam about collaboration opportunities, sector trends, and exploring food in Toronto.
Associate Director, SVX Canada
Kevin is a serial entrepreneur with a background in technology and management consulting. He leads the Fund Design and Management practice at SVX as well as heading up the SVX US Operations. Ask Kevin about raising capital, creating an investment fund, or pretty much anything related to Disney.
Senior Associate, SVX Canada
A graduate of UBC in Philosophy and Political Science, Helen pursued the goal of making a positive impact in several sectors before landing in impact investment. She joins SVX to create knowledge products and various other marketing projects. Ask her about writing, web and graphic design, and caring for houseplants!