Womvest Ventures is an investment vehicle that seeks to provide purpose-driven and flexible finance for women-owned and led businesses.
The facility provides short-term and impact-linked finance to women-led small and growing businesses (SGBs) within Secha’s portfolio that are struggling to access working capital finance at affordable rates and on appropriate terms.
The instrument’s impact-linked mechanism rewards the business for on-time repayment, as opposed to penalties, and financially incentivises the achievement of pre-determined social impact milestones.
“How investment capital is structured directly affects behaviours and outcomes – it can reinforce existing negative behaviours or incentivise positive behaviours for all stakeholders,” said Maya Burney, founder of Womvest.
“This facility has been designed to provide impact-linked capital that works for the women it supports whilst delivering a competitive financial return to investors.”
Founded last year, Womvest aims to enable and support the participation of women in the investment ecosystem, be they professionals, entrepreneurs, or investors, by providing access and visibility to talented and ambitious women.
The Womvest Mentorship Matching Program is run bi-annually, and it also curates networking events for its members.
The facility has been seeded by a group of women investors in the Womvest network. Brendan Mullen, managing director of Secha Capital, said his firm embraced new ways of supporting its portfolio companies along their growth journey.
“We have seen first-hand the struggle in accessing affordable short-term capital for SGBs. This facility directly addresses a gap in the market whilst embedding specific impact outcomes,” he said.
Womvest Ventures, Womvest’s new investment arm, has raised several million rand (US$100,000) from women in its network.
The capital will support companies like Rush Nutrition, a woman-led health food company in need of affordable inventory financing, and i-Gen, a lithium battery manufacturer, which needs affordable working capital to backstop its supply chain.
In turn, the companies commit to creating new jobs for women, growth and mentorship opportunities for female staff, and upskilling women workers.