Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Alexander Stubb, Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna and the manager of the Badia Impact Fund (BIF) Emile Cubeisy visited the headquarters of LIWWA to meet with one of Jordan’s innovative and high growth company and learn about the portfolio of the BIF in Jordan.
The BIF is a venture capital fund that invests in start-ups and high growth tech enabled SMEs in Jordan and the MENA region. The Fund has invested to date USD 21.8 million in 13 companies. LIWWA, one of BIF’s equity investments, is an innovative online lending platform that connects Jordanian SMEs in search for finance with local and international investors. In 2017, the company facilitated USD 5.3 million worth of loans to small, unbanked companies in Jordan.
“During our long term partnership with Jordan we have provided finance to the socio-economic infrastructure of the country. In addition, private sector development has been high on our agenda and Badia Impact Fund is a good example of our support to start-ups. We provided the Fund with an anchor investment given its high impact potential. The figures speak for themselves: to date, the portfolio of the fund has created 424 full time jobs. Out of this 72% of the employees are young (under 30 years old), and 39% are women. Moreover, 9% of the job opportunities created by the fund investments were filled by Jordanians who studied abroad, which is a telling indicator in terms of reversed brain drain.” said Vice President of the EIB Alexander Stubb.
“By investing in high-tech Small and Medium Enterprises, the Badia Impact Fund plays today an active role in creating quality jobs and sustainable growth in Jordan as well as in the MENA countries. The project perfectly illustrates the fruitful collaboration and co-investment of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the region. It is furthermore completely in line with Luxembourg’s support of the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative to finance more projects in Jordan, as well as in the EU neighboring countries, with the aim of developing the private sector and improving the socio-economic infrastructure.” said Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance and Governor of the EBRD.
The EIB invests in equity in order to support the development of innovative and high growth SMEs. Support to venture capital funds is key not only in providing long term equity and quasi-equity funding to the real economy but also in providing long term strategic and operational value added to start-up companies.
Last year the EIB has started to invest in equity under the new Risk Capital Facility which is part of the “EU Initiative for Financial Inclusion” that was developed jointly by the European Commission and several European Financial Institutions, among them the EIB. The initiative is a comprehensive programme to help micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region to become more competitive and grow. It provides finance and know-how to boost development and create jobs. In this way, it contributes to job creation and economic growth in the Southern Neighbourhood Countries.