Saturday, June 11, 2005

Initiative: Loans for conservation enterprises

Encourage MF members to apply!

** Equator Ventures **

In April 2005, the pilot phase of Equator Ventures was launched in partnership between UNDP's Equator Initiative, Conservation International's Verde Ventures and DOEN Foundation. It is capitalized with $1 million. To learn more, please visit

The Equator Initiative is a UNDP partnership that brings together the United Nations, civil society, business, governments, and communities to support local conservation initiatives. Since 2001, the Equator Initiative has mobilized close to $10 million, established the recognized Equator Prize, and hosted over 60 international fora.

Verde Ventures is a biodiversity-focused loan facility at Conservation International. To date, just under $4 million has been fully invested with a 100 percent repayment rate. Verde Ventures has helped secure the direct protection of
over 600,000 hectares of key habitat and employment of more than 9,000 local people.


As one of the Equator Initiative's four action areas and a unique collaborative effort between UNDP and Conservation International, Equator Ventures offers loan finance and expert enterprise development support to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) which conserve critical biodiversity and improve rural incomes. The partnership is committed to demonstrating that biodiversity SMEs are good investments and a driving force towards ecologically-sound and equitable

Equator Ventures is capitalized by grants and loans from the public and private sector. The program addresses the finance and service gap for conservation SMEs by offering loans between $30,000 to $500,000 and delivering tailored capacity
development services. Equator Ventures also monitors critical biodiversity and socio-economic impacts. The competitive advantage springs from a unique combination of
sector expertise, monitoring capability, and extensive local presence.

Equator Ventures will develop financing packages in conjunction with an enterprise's cash flow and for a period of not more than five years. The program invests at all
stages of an enterprise's maturity.

Eligible enterprises should:

- be located in a priority area of Conservation International and the Equator Initiative;
- contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and economic development of local populations;
- have a strong management team;
- demonstrate viable cash flow for repayment;
- have no more than US$5 million in total assets.

"Equator Ventures is dedicated to showing that small entrepreneurs are a vital and bankable link in the chain towards achieving sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Grassroots entrepreneurship has the potential, through its ability to bring great environmental benefits while also raising incomes, to transform the way we think about development. This well spring of local innovation - the foundation for Equator Ventures' work - must also play a critical role in informing and strengthening the global MDG effort." - Jeffrey Sachs,
Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on MDGs


Please download our application from, or send a letter of interest to UNDP Equator Initiative, 405 Lexington Avenue, 4th Floor,
New York, NY 10174. You can e-mail to or fax +1 212 457 1370.

Please address the following:

- Specific location of business operations (refer to map below to ensure your enterprise is located within a CI priority area);
- Amount of investment requested;
- Information on how funds will be used;
- Description of how your business supports biodiversity and generates income;
- Information on the background of your key managers;
- Summary of financials.


Programme Coordinators
Philipp Kauffmann
Programme Specialist, UNDP
Jennifer Morris
Senior Director, CI
Investment Committee
Leslie Barcus
Consultative Group to Assist the
Poorest, World Bank
Patrick Coady
President, Coady & Co.
Niels Crone
CFO, Conservation International
Mark Feldman
President and CEO, L&L
Manufacturing Co
Steve Graubart
Managing Director, Calvert Ventures
John A. May
Managing Partner, New Vantage
Nicholas Pritzker
Chairman of the Board and CEO,
Hyatt Development Corporation and
Hyatt Equities

Mountain Forum website

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