In April 2017, when we started with our project to build a private equity company in Central America looking to deploy transformative capital to tackle social and environmental issues in this region, some people where doubtful pointing to other failed private equity efforts in the past.
While it is certainly true that this region does not have the most inspiring reputation, at a micro-level there is a significant number of opportunities to create value here all while creating life-changing impact for its vulnerable population. We strongly believe, that the poorer regions in Latin America and the Caribbean are ideal environments to showcase the power of impact investing and prove its models right.
Today, indeed, I often get asked by people in my network "What can I do to help the people in Latin America and the Caribbean considering that I am based far away from the region"?
From the outset, our project always assumed a dual role:
identify and invest in companies that allow for both value creation and significant impact towards the UN SDGs,
educate the broader investment community about the private equity opportunities in Latin America & the Caribbean.
Help in either of these fields is valuable and will ultimately contribute towards lifting a significant number of the vulnerable population out of poverty.
Why invest in this region?
There are only 10 years left on the clock to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The climate crisis is real, the North-South divide is as deep as ever and the Covid-19 pandemic has wiped out most of the progress made in the last years in terms of closing the gender gap.
And these problems are not problems of some far away countries, they will ultimately affect us all.
"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."
John F. Kennedy
Within our geographic focus, Central America is of particular concern because it is the poorest region in Latin America:
4 of the 6 poorest countries in Latin America are in Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala).
4 of the 8 countries in Latin America with the lowest literacy rate among people aged 15 or more are in Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala).
The 4 Latin American countries with the highest percentage of teenage mothers are all in Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala).
Lack of local opportunities fuels mass migration.
Climate change impacts agricultural output in some areas to such extent as to push more people into poverty and ultimately to seek new opportunities abroad.
How can you help?
If you are an asset owner, the most effective way to help would be to partner with us and catalyze further capital into the region. We have specifically designed our fund project around an open architecture allowing for co-investments, managed accounts, independent sponsorship opportunities, etc.
If you are a (friendly) asset manager, we are open to share opportunities in the region (NDAs permitting). Indeed, we regularly get unsolicited sell-side opportunities that do not always fit into our investment mandate but could be a good fit for investors looking for this specific type of companies (real estate, tourism,...).
If you are a service provider, ask your company what it would take to bring your services to this region. Ask your clients why they are not in the region and what it would take for them to get active here. We may also be interested in talking to you to source services for our portfolio companies in the future. We can also connect you to the service providers we know and work with in this region.
If you produce or sell goods, ask your company if your products could be produced in the region taking advantage of the numerous free zone regulations that exist here. Ask your company how you could sell your products to the local population. Again, our portfolio companies may also be interested in buying your products in the future.
If you are none of the above, talk to your friends, family and colleagues about the region. Ask them to read about what is happening here and where the inequalities come from. If you find local products that are sourced in a fair way or sold by local cooperatives, buy those (coffee, honey, chia, beans, rice, pineapple, avocados, wood, chocolate, meat,...). Advocate in your circle of influence for help and support to this region: sometimes it only takes one person to speak up to create a movement. Ask questions where you can: why are we not present in Central America? What do we do to help teen pregnancy in that region? Can we send some books or educational materials to that region to fight illiteracy? Can we help in any other way?
We have it in our hands to give the next generation a fair chance!
“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
What can Emerald Peak do to help you?
Emerald Peak exists to maximize any help that is directed to the vulnerable population in Latin America and the Caribbean.
If we can assist any additional efforts along our own we will do so:
we can help distribute donations to the people most in need (make available free products to the most destitute people in the community, basic medicine,...),
we can channel technical assistance or vocational training to the appropriate environments (teaching employees in our portfolio companies foreign languages, computer skills, social media skills, accounting basics, ...),
we can integrate your social initiatives into our platform for maximum effect (for example subsidized housing programs, clean energy programs,...),
we can catalyze and blend your investment with like-minded investors for maximum impact.
"...there has never been anything we haven’t been able to do when we’ve done it together."
Ultimately, our objective is to build a trustworthy eco-system of private investments founded on generally accepted principles for responsible investments that benefits all investors looking to deploy capital in the region.
In the meantime, we position ourselves as the partner of choice for international capital providers looking to deploy patient capital into Latin America and the Caribbean by providing:
on-the-ground presence with excellent networks and insights into investment opportunities and pitfalls,
uniquely qualified team with extensive international and cross-border transactional experience,
impact-first investment approach,
commitment to international standards in compliance, accounting, fund administration and transparency,
zero-tolerance for corruption and bribery,
active risk management in the portfolio companies at all times.
Our door is always open!
I hope you can join us in helping the people in need in Latin America and the Caribbean!
#impactinvesting #SDGs #esg #LatinAmerica #Caribbean #Mexico #Guatemala #ElSalvador #Honduras #Nicaragua #CostaRica #Panama #Colombia #Ecuador #Peru #genderbalance #endpoverty #privateequity #patientcapital #buildbackbetter