Once grantees have completed their AECF funded projects, the AECF continues providing technical support to enable them to identify new sources of more commercial capital. AECF Connect - funded by SIDA - has been a pilot initiative to support AECF grantees in raising capital from investors and lenders to extend project impact by ensuring continued financial support from other investors.
AECF Connect not only finds investors and matches funders to grantees, but also aims to help businesses scale up by providing expert advice and strategic input surrounding the fundraising process. For example, it arranges fundraising workshops that bring together investors and grantee companies.
AECF Connect enhances the AECF’s position as a feeder fund for other investors, by not only providing capital to initiate projects but also leveraging more private sector capital into these projects over time. This activity allows the AECF to demonstrate an increased return on its grant programme.
AECF Connect is expecting to leverage support of US$16.2m to be finalised by end-2016 for nine AECF portfolio companies – including taking many through a number of funding rounds. In offering this support, AECF Connect delivered a range of services from providing a fundraising toolkit and investor introductions to a more active support through the entire fundraising process.
The goal of truly having scale across Africa can only be achieved by working in partnership with other investors, ensuring that the AECF selects business likely to be of interest to them and helping projects in the portfolio connect with these investors in a meaningful way.