DGGF operates under the belief that business opportunities created by local entrepreneurs are key to inclusive economic development. Despite their potential, SMEs remain underserved, considered too big for microfinance and too small or high-risk for traditional lenders – effectively stuck in the missing middle. The financing gap in emerging markets is estimated to be nearly USD $5 trillion. By supporting early-stage and frontier investments, DGGF aims to set an example for the broader investment community, to create scale where capital is most needed and can have its biggest impact. To get there, DGGF works across three types of activities:
- Contribute to new and existing investment initiatives for SMEs
- Build capacity of financial intermediaries and SMEs
- Stimulate an improved ecosystem for the missing middle
How DGGF’s activities contribute to building resilience
Over the last two years, COVID-19 recovery and resilience have played a key role in DGGF’s activities. When the pandemic started, the focus shifted and DGGF offered support in the shape of a crisis response program, ESG guidance, and even helped financial providers launch emergency bridge loans to increase the ability of the companies to secure jobs as much as possible, and enable them to survive until operations can be resumed after lockdown periods. By the end of 2021, DGGF impact data shows encouraging signs of recovery such as a higher number of SMEs financed compared to 2020, as well as more jobs supported and created across sectors that suffered most as a result of lockdowns.
Supporting inclusive growth: youth and gender lens investing (GLI)
DGGF supports women-focused enterprise development and provides female entrepreneurs with technical advice to register and grow their businesses while increasing their leadership skills and fundraising networks. In doing so, DGGF contributes to reducing the high level of informality in women-owned businesses and challenges gender biases of most known and implemented models of business acceleration. DGGF is tailored to first-time managers and finance providers who want to implement a gender lens strategy through seed and investment capital. In supporting financial intermediaries with an explicit gender lens strategy, more female entrepreneurs are actually getting the financing they need and have a positive impact on women working with the business.
Additionally, DGGF’s youth outreach is on the one hand to youth-led livelihood-sustaining businesses through investments into digital lenders and upscaling digitized microfinance institutions (MFIs) and on the other hand to youth-led high-growth businesses through investing into venture capital (VC) funds. Since it started investing in 2014 and as of the end of 2021, DGGF has reached and served 2,824 youth-led SMEs.
DGGF countries are particularly exposed to the negative consequences of global warming, which endangers the livelihoods of millions of people, including DGGF target groups. Mitigating the effects of climate change is therefore inseparable from DGGF’s wider impact goal of reducing poverty, increasing resilience of economies and diversifying income opportunities for communities in fragile contexts. Therefore, DGGF is taking further steps to contribute to the global fight against climate change and its consequences and has deliberately chosen an integrated approach in order to do so. The climate strategy is composed of actions that reduce or avoid the negative impact that DGGF’s investments have on the environment and investments/technical assistance that make an active positive contribution to either climate change mitigation or adaptation. Consequently, DGGF has broadened its scope to also seek out a number of financial intermediaries that have a primary environmental objective. Furthermore, the team is working to assist DGGF’s partners via technical assistance to shape their own climate-related actions and support them to achieve their goals.
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