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Verde Ventures

Request for Proposals

Request for Proposals
Many community enterprises struggle for long-term sustainability due to an
inability to access affordable credit with favorable payment conditions or reasonable
credit obligations.

Verde Ventures (VV), a program of Conservation International, invests in small businesses

that contribute to conservation and communities in Conservation International's (CI) global
priority areas. Building upon a shift in CI’s mission, we have expanded our scope to
incorporate critical issues which are focused on human wellbeing in the context of
biodiversity conservation. A key component of this is an increasing focus on facilitating the
development of sustainable and low carbon economies in Africa.

Lack of access to financing is consistently cited by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as
one of the main barriers to growth. With such limited access to financing, SME owners
struggle to make the investments they need to increase productivity and competitiveness of
their business, develop new markets, and hire more people. This is particularly true in
African countries.

Verde Ventures has seen that there is a substantial SME investment market potential in
Africa which overlaps with CI’s conservation priorities. The existence of this “missing
middle”, unserved by either microfinance institutions or large financial institutions, is a
significant challenge for SME’s seeking to grow responsibly particularly in Africa. Given the
importance of the SME sector as a driver of growth and employment, as well as a large
unserved need in this sector in Africa, VV has developed an aggressive Africa.

We very are grateful to both Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Fonds Français
pour l'Environnement Mondial (FFEM) for their continued support and the opportunity to
expand our services to this critical continent.

Pre-Selection Criteria
To be eligible for support from Verde Ventures, the enterprise must be a Small or Medium
sized enterprise in Africa and involved in a business that benefits biodiversity conservation
and human well-being.

Enterprise Eligibility:
All projects must adhere to the following minimum criteria to be eligible for Verde-
Ventures’ financing:
Make a direct contribution to our priorities, particularly in addressing climate
security, freshwater security and food security (see for more

Have a strong management team
Demonstrate commitment to and participation of a local community
Have total business assets less than $5 million during the investment period
Demonstrate sufficient cash flow or growth potential to repay the investment within
three-five years
Demonstrate capacity to repay the investment in US dollars, despite local currency
Be able and committed to monitor changes in biodiversity during the life of the

Any small or medium , income-generating enterprise that provides direct benefits to

people and biodiversity conservation is encouraged to apply.

Some examples of eligible businesses include:

Agroforestry: Shade-grown and sustainable agriculture that buffers biologically

important protected areas.
Ecotourism: Ecotourism products and services that protect biodiversity and provide
conservation-oriented employment and income for communities living near
protected areas.
Wild-harvest products: Businesses that develop and promote oils, nuts, fruit, plants,
fibers and other natural materials sustainably harvested near protected areas.
Energy: Businesses that develop and promote higher efficiency energy options and /
or low-carbon energy options in rural Africa. Enterprises that address charcoal and
fossil fuel efficiency and / or substitution are of particular interest.

Verde Ventures Fund Overview

Formally established in 2001, Verde Ventures (VV) is a program of Conservation
International (CI). To date, VV has raised $12 million in total capital from investors (AFD,
International Finance Corporation, Overseas Private Investment Fund, and Starbucks Coffee

The mission of Verde Ventures is:

Verde Ventures invests in small businesses that contribute to conservation and

communities in Conservation International's global priority areas.

While VV has traditionally focused its efforts on two primary sectors: sustainable agriculture
(coffee and cocoa) and tourism, VV’s new approach will include investment in businesses
that develop and promote higher efficiency energy options and / or low-carbon energy

options in rural Africa. Enterprises that address charcoal and fossil fuel efficiency and / or
substitution are of particular interest.

Submission Deadline
June 30th 2010

Use of Funds

Verde Ventures loan funds can be used by an enterprise for key areas of business
development such as:

working capital
inventory purchases
infrastructure enhancements
training and capacity building
plant and equipment purchases
land purchase

The use of funds must be directly related to the project's business plan. Each prospective
applicant will need to demonstrate how funding will contribute to the business' ability to
directly support biodiversity conservation and human wellbeing.

In order to apply, please complete the included Letter of Interest and submit it to us at

Addition information is available online at:

Verde Ventures site:

Verde ventures
Letter of Enquiry Template
Thank you very much for your correspondence and your interest in Verde Ventures.

The mission of Verde Ventures, as part of Conservation International, is conservation of biodiversity through
investment in conservation-oriented small and medium sized enterprises. Investments range between
US$30,000 and US$500,000 and are in the form of loans with a payback period that varies between three to
five years. Therefore, all projects that we evaluate need to show us financial projections that demonstrate
that the business will have sufficient cash flow to operate and repay debt and interest within this timeframe.

Verde Ventures finances organizations located in Conservation International's priority areas:

The first step in the application process is to send a Letter of Inquiry to with the
following information:


Company Name


GPS Coordinates
(if available )

1. Description of business, including the specific location of business operations (include country,
nearest town and nearest protected area, if available).

2. Amount of investment requested (range: $30,000 to $500,000)

3. Information on how funds will be used and terms of repayment

4. Detailed description of how the enterprise supports ecosystem health, biodiversity conservation, the
local community and human wellbeing

5. Information on the background of the key managers

6. Summary financials (two years historical (if relevant) and projections)

Again, thank you very much for your interest in Verde Ventures and we look forward to receiving your
proposal. Once we receive your proposal we can evaluate whether your project fits within our funding
priorities and contact you for additional information.

For more information about Verde Ventures please visit our website:

Verde Ventures
Conservation International