Small Enterprise Assistance Funds was founded in 1989 to provide growth capital and business support to small and medium-sized enterprises around the world. SEAF's investment philosophy is that the most effective economic development occurs at the SME level. SEAF has quantified its development impact through detailed case studies and analysis and calculates that every USD 1 invested in an SME generates USD 13 of benefits to the broader community. Over the last 22 years, SEAF has invested USD 612 million in growth capital in 29 countries, in companies that span market sectors including agriculture, healthcare, tourism, and retail.
SEAF played an important role in the development of the IRIS metrics as it had been tracking impact data for a number of years when IRIS began development and was able to contribute the lessons from its experience. And SEAF was among the first impact investment managers to contribute data to the IRIS database in 2010. Since then, SEAF has implemented relevant IRIS metrics across its funds and reports annually on its results.
Other Impact Measurement Tools
SEAF has been a pioneer in impact measurement and contributed to the creation of the IRIS and is a GIIRS Pioneer fund manager. In addition to tracking and reporting on standard metrics, SEAF has developed a robust case study methodology that it applies to selected portfolio companies to quantify impact while also providing extensive qualitative information about the full range of stakeholders--employees, customers, suppliers, community--that every SME affects. SEAF also rigorously applies World Bank or other international standards for environment, health and safety in the projects it undertakes, including thorough screening and monitoring on an ongoing basis. Development impact benchmarks include job creation, training, and wage growth alongside metrics that demonstrate the growth of the company since the time of investment.