What is Verde Ventures?Does Verde Ventures give grants?When was Verde Ventures created?What amount of funding is available per project?What types of financial instruments are used by the fund (debt, equity, combination)?What is the approval process and how long does it take?What are the terms of Verde Ventures investments?What kinds of things can Verde Ventures capital be used for?What types of projects are eligible?How do I apply?How has the fund performed to date?
What is Verde Ventures?
Verde Ventures is an investment fund managed by Conservation International (CI) to provide support for small- and medium-sized businesses that contribute to healthy ecosystems and human well-being.
Does Verde Ventures give grants?
Currently Verde Ventures is not providing grants without an accompanying loan. Eligible loan recipients have received grants for technical assistance and biodiversity and socioeconomic monitoring from Verde Ventures.
When was Verde Ventures created?
Until 2003, Verde Ventures was called the Conservation Enterprise Fund (CEF). CEF was created in late 1998 with a $1 million investment from the joint International Finance Corporation/Global Environmental Facility Small and Medium Enterprise program.
What amount of funding is available per project?
Verde Ventures provides loans between $30,000 and $500,000. All investments are made in US dollars and must be repaid in US dollars.
What types of financial instruments are used by the fund (debt, equity, combination)?
Primarily debt instruments are used, though partial equity can be considered when clear exit options exist. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis and be subject to donor restrictions.
What is the approval process and how long does it take?
There is a three-stage approval process:
- Pre-screen financial and biodiversity analysis. This is done by Verde Ventures staff in coordination with CI scientists to ensure the project meets the geographic and operational criteria to enter into the due-diligence phase. (two weeks)
- Investment Committee Decision: After passing phase 1 and completing the due diligence conducted by Verde Ventures staff, an investment memo is presented to the Verde Ventures Investment Committee. Due diligence (1-3 months), investment committee decision (one day).
- Investor Approval: After passing phase 2, the project will need final approval from the Verde Ventures investor. The actual time for this decision will depend on which pool of Verde Ventures capital is being used. (one month on average)
After a project has been approved, legal agreements must be developed to govern the transaction for the life of the investment. (two months on average). The minimum time required from first contact to the disbursement will be, in most cases, a minimum of four months.
What are the terms of Verde Ventures investments?
Verde Ventures sets its interest rates in accordance with each individual project. The loan terms vary depending on the business under evaluation, country risk and returns for conservation, as well as local markets for credit for each project. There is not a set interest rate that is charged. While our interest rates are competitive with local markets, Verde Ventures is also very flexible with the collateral requirements, in particular when compared to most local banks.
What kinds of things can Verde Ventures capital be used for?
Verde Ventures capital can support infrastructure development, working capital, land, plant and equipment purchase, and other core businesses needs in conjunction with the company's business plan.
What types of projects are eligible?
The primary eligibility criterion is the project's impact on biodiversity in CI's priority areas. Because of this purpose, projects to date have focused on agroforestry (coffee and cocoa), ecotourism and non-timber forest products. However, Verde Ventures is open to reviewing projects in other sectors such as marine initiatives, reforestation and carbon sequestration, or other initiatives that can demonstrate the conservation of biodiversity. Please see the eligibility section of the Web site for more details.
How do I apply?
Visit the How to Apply section of the Web site for detailed directions. The first step involves submitting a Letter of Inquiry that includes key information such as where your business is located, how it contributes to biodiversity, how much funding you seek and for what purpose.
How has the fund performed to date?
The fund has a 91 percent repayment rate for its 34 entities in 13 countries that are benefiting the conservation of 3 million hectares and supporting businesses that employ more than 15,000 local people in jobs that support the conservation of biodiversity and human well-being.