Alitheia IDF, a private equity fund that identifies, invests in and grows SMEs led by gender-diverse teams to achieve solid financial returns and tangible social impact for communities in Africa, has launched the Nzinga Scale Fund with the aim of investing up to $3 million along with technical assistance resources in eligible companies.
The fund is seeking growth-stage, African companies based in Ghana, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe in sectors that engage a significant percentage of women, either as entrepreneurs, producers, distributors or consumers. Some of these sectors include agribusiness, consumer goods, health, education, and financial services.
With offices in Johannesburg and Lagos, Alitheia IDF is the only private equity fund manager in Africa prioritising SME growth-stage companies combined with a proactive strategy to fund female entrepreneurs running innovative, unnoticed and scalable businesses in attractive industries and markets.
Led by ‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Polo Leteka and Anne-Marie Chidzero with combined experience of over 60 years in private equity, investment banking, SME financing, financial inclusion/fintech, technology and agribusiness, the Alitheia IDF team has a track record of identifying, investing and exiting African businesses that have significant economic and social outcomes.
According to the Women Matter- Africa study published by McKinsey, organisations with a greater share of women on their executive committees and boards “tend to have a higher operating margin, return on equity and total return to shareholders.” Having long understood this, Alitheia continues to invest in gender diverse SMEs and aims to touch and impact up to 5 million people in sub-Sahara Africa, while addressing the gap in funding for women-led businesses and increasing the economic potential of women.
The Nzinga Scale Fund is named after Queen Ana Nzinga, a 17th-century queen in Angola who demonstrated an aptitude for defusing political crises in her capacity as ambassador to the Portuguese, and later assumed power and fought for the freedom and stature of her kingdoms against the Portuguese, who were colonizing the region at the time.
‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Principal Partner, remarked, “We are very excited about this initiative because it provides us with the opportunity to positively impact women by not only providing access to capital, but through the boot camp, we’re also enhancing their capacity to properly absorb institutional capital for scale and expansion.”
To be considered for the fund, companies must be operating in Ghana, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia or Zimbabwe and engage a significant percentage of women, either on their leadership team or as entrepreneurs, producers, distributors or consumers. Additionally, interested companies must have a sound performance track record of at least two years and must be generating consistent and growing revenue.
Completing the application is the first step required in the Nzinga Scale Fund application process. All applications will be reviewed and selected applicants will be invited for an interview. Following interviews, qualified applicants will be invited to join the Nzinga Scale Bootcamp – a program designed to equip applicants with the technical capacity necessary to grow and scale their businesses. Applicants who successfully complete the boot camp will be eligible for and may receive up to $3M in fund investment.