EL CERRITO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NESsT, a global impact investor and venture philanthropist, announced today the launch of the NESsT Violet Fund and the repositioning of the NESsT Lirio Fund. The announcements kick off the new year as the NESsT team looks ahead to double down on its global emerging markets strategy.
The NESsT Violet Fund, Central and Eastern Europe
The NESsT Violet Fund is launching in partnership with Dreilinden gGmbH, a Germany-based non-profit dedicated to advancing societal acceptance of gender and sexual diversity. The mission of the fund is to facilitate better access to the labor markets and improve career progression in the workplace for marginalized communities, including LGBTQIA*, ethnic minorities, at-risk youth, and people with disabilities.
“Communities that experience persistent social exclusion are most at risk of poverty,” said Sebastian Siuchta, Violet Fund Director. “To build financial resilience against global economic shocks, such as war and climate change, individuals facing marginalization need access to quality employment opportunities with career growth, security, and a livable income, and that is at the forefront of NESsT’s new impact fund.”
The NESsT Violet Fund is the first impact fund supporting SMEs committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in Central and Eastern Europe. With this fund, NESsT aims to support more than 2,000 individuals from marginalized communities to determine their own futures.
The NESsT Lirio Fund, Latin America
Since launching the NESsT Lirio Fund in 2018, the global landscape has evolved considerably. As a result of major disruptions and growing devastation from climate change, NESsT decided to refine the Fund’s investment thesis to focus specifically on financing SMEs, improving livelihoods, and promoting sustainable land management in the Andes-Amazon basin.
The NESsT Lirio Fund portfolio enterprises maintain strong relationships with local communities, including indigenous communities, and help farmers to adopt practices that conserve the forest and promote gender equity. The Fund portfolio supports the livelihood of over 2,400 smallholder farmers and vulnerable workers, 45% of whom are women, in rural Peru and Colombia.
“One of the first enterprises we invested in when launching the NESsT Lirio Fund was Greenbox, a social enterprise that transforms regions in the Andes-Amazon of Peru from cultivating coca plants for use in drug trafficking, to harvesting organic fruit for use in value-add products,” said Chad Sachs, Lirio Fund Director. “Greenbox, a company that joined the NESsT Lirio portfolio in 2019, achieved a compound annual sales growth rate of 68% by the end of 2022. This success allowed NESsT to offer Greenbox an additional loan in 2022, demonstrating the potential for growth for companies within the NESsT portfolio.
Similarly, Pomario is a Colombia-based enterprise selling organic produce to Colombian families, retailers, and high-end restaurants. Pomario first joined NESsT as an incubation portfolio enterprise in 2022. A year and a half later, with NESsT’s strategic guidance, Pomario grew to a size that enabled it to secure additional debt capital from the NESsT Lirio Fund. Pomario hit record sales in its first year as a NESsT portfolio company, almost doubling its 2020 numbers due to new B2B sales channels, e-commerce, and the re-opening of restaurants.
Apply to receive financing from NESsT
SMEs fostering labor inclusion in Central Europe can apply to the NESsT Violet Fund at nesst.org/violet-fund.
SMEs improving rural livelihoods in Peru or Colombia can apply to the NESsT Lirio Fund at https://www.nesst.org/lirio-fund.
NESsT is a catalyst for social enterprises in global emerging markets. NESsT provides financial capital, training and mentoring, and access to markets for a high-impact portfolio of social enterprises that solve critical social problems within vulnerable communities across Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Since its founding in 1997, NESsT has invested over $24M, trained and supported over 24,000 entrepreneurs, and incubated and financed 223 enterprises sustaining more than 77,000 formal jobs, and improving the lives of close to one million people.
About Dreilinden gGmbHS
Dreilinden is a Hamburg-based foundation dedicated to advancing societal acceptance of gender and sexual diversity. Founded in 2007, Dreilinden has been at the forefront of supporting diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics with grants and investments.