Opening Access to Finance through Investor Workshops
EEP Africa held a series of tailored Investor Workshops during October-December 2021 to introduce key investment partners to relevant companies in its portfolio.
One of the key challenges for early-stage companies is accessing follow-on financing for grant-funded projects and support for scale-up. EEP Africa has been organising Investor Forums in East and Southern Africa since 2016. These highly-rated events have introduced regional and international investors to emerging clean energy companies, catalysing investment opportunities and expanding the pipeline of investment-ready projects. With the global pandemic still limiting in-person events, and a recognition that large-scale virtual events are less conducive to effective matchmaking, EEP Africa has evolved its investment facilitation activities towards a more bespoke approach.
In 2021, EEP Africa launched a new series of Investor Workshops, with each event customised for a single investor. Based on the investor’s profile in terms of type of financing and ticket size, a small group of companies with appropriate financing needs were selected from the EEP Africa portfolio to present their business case. The format allowed for practical discussions on investment criteria and challenges facing early-stage and local companies in the clean energy sector. This improved understanding of the needs and priorities of both the investor and the companies.
During the past three months, Investor Workshops were organised for Charm Impact, SunFunder, Camco Clean Energy and Lendahand. These four investors offer a range of ticket sizes encompassing both debt and equity financing. Twelve portfolio companies at relevant stages of corporate development were invited to present their work deploying various clean energy technologies in Africa.
Charles Wetherill, Head of Origination at SunFunder, says:
Thanks for featuring us in this edition of the Investor Workshop. EEP Africa is an important referral channel and source of discovery for us of emerging companies. We really appreciate this focused opportunity to gain insights on who is up-and-coming.
In the rapidly evolving clean energy sector, this type of tailored matchmaking is an effective way to introduce investors to promising early-stage and local companies and to foster relationships that will benefit all stakeholders. Based on this initial set of workshops, more than 10 one-on-one meetings have been held or arranged between investors and participating companies, and at least one concrete investment is in the pipeline for approval in early 2022. Both the investors and portfolio companies have recommended that this format be continued.
Bethany Larsen, co-Founder of Charm Impact says:
I thought the EEP Africa Investor Workshop was fantastic! Having the opportunity to speak with multiple, highly relevant companies and answer their questions in a more personal setting was one of the best and most efficient pipeline building activities we've done to date. Hopefully we can do more things like this together in the future.
Sharon Yeti, co-Founder and CEO of Powerlive Zimbabwe says:
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to tell our story to the different stakeholders. It was very useful as it helps us learn what we can do better to improve our company.
EEP Africa is proud of its longstanding role as a pipeline source for investors and is dedicated to facilitating follow-on financing for its portfolio companies to ensure a just and inclusive energy transition in Africa.