Category: Private Debt - SME Finance (Emerging)
Established in 1994, Shared Interest is a US-based non-profit investment fund that provides access to local capital and technical support for small and growing businesses, small-holder farmers and cooperatives in Southern Africa. Shared Interest helps move Southern African commercial lenders to extend credit to clients they would otherwise consider "unbankable" – and to make them their "ordinary business." Shared Interest works through local partners (e.g. Thembani International Guarantee Fund in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique and Enclude in Zambia and soon Malawi and Tanzania) to supply local technical assistance for clients (including how to build relationships with local lenders). We further provide support services to the financial institutions themselves so that they will adapt their products and practices to the needs of their new markets.
Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
Less than $25M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 25% – 49%
Shared Interest mobilizes the financial resources of Southern Africa's own commercial lenders - facilitating their loans to low-income communities of color by partially guaranteeing them.
Shared Interest mobilizes the financial resources of Southern Africa's own commercial lenders - facilitating their loans to low-income communities of color by partially guaranteeing them. The goal is to catalyze mainstream commercial loans to the majority market - unlocking the equivalent of millions of dollars (more than $120M to date) in loans to entrepreneurs who would otherwise be considered "unbankable." The guarantee fees paid by the lenders and beneficiaries help to cover the costs of the technical assistance Shared Interest's partners provide to beneficiaries and banks. The guarantees themselves take the form of letters of credit (L/Cs) issued by commercial banks. Investors' loans to Shared Interest are in turn invested in high quality securities that serve as the collateral that backs the L/Cs. Investors' returns consist of a portion of the interest these securities earn while they are unlocking commercial credit for some of Southern Africa's lowest income people.
Maragra Smallholder Sugarcane Development Project (MSSDP) works with an association of thirty agricultural cooperatives in and around the Manhica community, about 80km north of Maputo, Mozambique. The innovative initiative benefits 2,500 farmers – more than half of them women – from five communities, and will create a projected 20,000 jobs in southern Mozambique. It will improve the lives of vulnerable rural farmers by enhancing their communities' opportunities, sustainability, and ability to attract local investment. Each farmer will devotes one-third of her/his land (between two and 370 acres) to food crops projected to earn net annual profits of MZM 2818 (meticaix) per acre.
Leadership and Team
Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
From 1986 until July of 1994, she served as Director of South Africa and International Justice Programs for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. In that capacity she worked with religious bodies, institutional investors and community organizations to exert economic pressure to end apartheid, promote responsible reinvestment after apartheid, and to advance social criteria for domestic and international lending. She holds a master's degree in Community Organization and Planning, and a doctorate in Human Services Education and Development. She is a board member of the Thembani International Guarantee Fund and the Jewish Funds for Justice.
Tim Smith has been a leader in the social investment industry for more than 30 years. He is Senior Vice President at Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust and Investment Management, and President of the Social Investment Forum. He is the former Executive Director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. He also chairs the Advisory Committee of the Calvert Social Investment Fund and is a member of the Advisory Committees for Working Assets Common Holdings, Fidelity Bank Social Principles Fund, and Working Assets Long Distance.
Matt Patsky is CEO of Trillium Asset Management, a socially responsible investment management firm in Boston and a CFA. He is widely considered as an expert in socially and environmentally responsible investing. As Director of Equity Research for Adams, Harkness & Hill, he built that firm's powerful research capabilities in socially and environmentally responsible areas. At Winslow Management Company, he served as director of research, chairman of the investment committee and portfolio manager for the Green Solutions Strategy and the Winslow Green Solutions Fund.
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans
Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Increasing access to financial services
Other: Facilitating mainstream lenders' credit to economically disenfranchised enterprises and communities.
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Value-added Services Offered:
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training
Other: Technical support in business and forum management and securing credit from mainstream
Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:
Shared Interest, along with its on-the-ground partners, select potential beneficiaries that must make a positive contribution to the development of low-income Southern African communities of color by launching or expanding black-owned small or micro-enterprises or farms, supporting the construction or improvement of quality affordable housing and community facilities, and/or creating jobs. The criteria also prioritize businesses and projects benefiting women and serving as pilots and models for mainstream financial institutions to help move them to lend to clients they would have previously considered "unbankable." Our partners bring deals to the organization's Credit Committee, which evaluates them based on both financial and impact criteria, and monitors them throughout the life of the guarantees, drawing on quarterly performance and impact reports collected and shared quarterly, and verified quarterly by our partners. Shared Interest also participates in the verification process by visiting clients on an annual basis.
Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:
In its initial due diligence and submissions to the Credit Committee, Shared Interest, along with its partners, prioritize enterprises, farms and other income-generating projects that provide ownership, management and employment opportunities to low-income people of color and particularly women. They also seek clients who enhance the capacity of their employees, and make the most sustainable possible use of natural resources. These social and environmental practices are monitored along with other impact indicators on a quarterly basis. When practices raise concerns, our partners share these with the client and the Credit Committee and work to resolve the issues. If these are not resolved, the guarantees are not renewed.