Not expanding upon pilot venture program. Archived as of 9/4/2007. -RH
Equator Ventures was formed in 2005 through an expansion of the Equator Initiative and Conservation Internationals existing partnership and through a process of thoughtful inquiry into how best to confront pressing needs at the interface of poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation.
Equator Ventures is an innovative development and investment initiative capitalized by grants and loans from resources in the public and private sector. Its mission is to provide a blended offer of debt finance and enterprise development support to viable small and medium sized biodiversity businesses. These enterprises must contribute to biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction in Equator Initiative and Conservation International priority areas.
Equator Ventures is tailored to address the incremental risk associated with small and medium enterprise projects (SMEs) by integrating loans and capacity development grants. By helping to develop good business practices and solid credit histories, Equator Ventures will demonstrate that conservation SMEs are good investments and capable of attracting new sources of financing for the SME market.
Equator Ventures will invest in ventures at all stages of development. Loans between US$30,000 to US$500,000 will be provided for the sustainable growth needs of projects. Complementary grants will support a comprehensive business development and capacity building programme, tailor-made to meet the needs of successful entrepreneurs from the developing world.
The Equator Ventures approach is driven by five core principles:
* Integrate biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation into enterprise delivery;
* Enhance capacity for impact, scaling-up, and repayment;
* Measure and report on challenges and success for broad-based learning;
* Build an active public-private community that is supportive of environmentally sustainable entrepreneurship;
* Achieve financial sustainability.
The pilot phase of Equator Ventures was launched in January of 2005 with a $1 million pilot fund. Pending success of the pilot, the fund will be expanded.
Equator Ventures clients are drawn from those conservation enterprises that deliver demonstrable conservation and socio-economic benefits in priority areas. These enterprises may be found in traditional sectors such as agroforestry, ecotourism, ecosystem services or non-timber forest products. However, Equator Ventures client pool will also welcome enterprises from other areas of endeavour, provided they can demonstrate positive impacts on biodiversity and communities.