Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB Canada) has announced the launch of a $24-million fund to invest in African startups.
In a statement yesterday EWB Canada said its Hummingbird Impact venture fund would leverage on nearly a decade of EWB Canada’s experience delivering talent and seed capital to early-stage, for-profit social ventures in Africa with a track record of 11 investments.
Hummingbird is raising a $20-million blended-finance impact fund to invest in scalable, tech-enabled social ventures at the pre-seed, seed and Series-A stages.
As a gender-lens investor, the fund will focus on bringing a holistic approach to business practices that promotes women’s economic participation, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Hummingbird will raise a $20m blended-finance fund, complemented by a $4m technical assistance facility
The fund will be complemented by a $4-million technical assistance facility to accelerate the growth and impact
performance of its portfolio.
Fund operate as spinout company
EWB Canada said Hummingbird will operate autonomously, but will be supported by and affiliated with EWB Canada.
Commenting in the statement EWB Canada CEO Boris Martin said spinning off a business unit has precedence at EWB. “We do it when it allows us to reach sustainable impact at scale.
In this case, Hummingbird will allow us to catalyse both philanthropic and commercial capital towards a shared mission,” he said.
Muthoni Wachira (pictured above), a founding partner for Hummingbird said in the statement yesterday that gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to reducing global poverty.
“Research also shows that gender and ethnically diverse teams are positively correlated with higher impact and profitability than their peers.
“Hummingbird will therefore commit 100% of its proceeds towards these underserved, undervalued and undercapitalised ventures,” said Wachira.
Featured image: Hummingbird founding partner Muthoni Wachira (Supplied)