Research & Learning

Search for catalytic capital data, analysis, case studies and market development tools that can help investors identify opportunities for impact around the world.

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In the second installment of our 2024 webinar series, C3 teams up with African Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA) to bring together leaders from Impact Investing Ghana, Open Capital, I&P, Aceli Africa and the Initiative for Blended Finance to share insights and offer actionable investment strategies for the region, particularly as regards small business growth.

This report was a collaboration of four regional impact investor networks: AVPA, AVPN, Impact Europe and Latimpacto. It maps the practice of catalytic capital across various thematic areas, and surfaces trends, case examples and lessons from active investors on ways to effectively integrate catalytic capital into investment portfolios.

Aceli’s 2024 report shares data and case studies drawn from 1,567 agriculture loans totaling $152 million, more than double the volume captured in the organization’s Y2 report. The analysis includes metrics from Aceli’s financial incentives program, data trends in agri-SME lending across East Africa, and ingredients for sustained lender behavior change. It also explores emerging data on the additionality and impact of loans across different size segments.

Nongovernmental investors play a key role in the financial ecosystems of underinvested places. In a new report, Urban Institute analyzes how catalytic capital can impact the flow of financing to these communities, using Cleveland as a case study. It offers recommendations for investors interested in supporting positive, place-based change and identifies challenges that slow progress.

In the first installment of our 2024 webinar series, C3 teams up with Mission Investors Exchange (MIE) to feature insights from four of our Strengthening the Evidence Base grantees on how catalytic capital investments impact racial equity, Indigenous businesses, employee ownership and place-based investing in the United States.

Analysis from MSI Integrity finds that employee ownership represents a significant opportunity for catalytic investment across the risk-return spectrum. In a new report, it explains that shifting corporate ownership to employees is a uniquely powerful vehicle to not only reduce wealth inequality, but also to improve the quality of work and build strong businesses.

Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) has developed a new place-based guide to investing in underestimated people and places. The playbook is organized around three pillars: capital structuring, community engagement & trust-based outreach, and data-driven impact optimization. It provides insights and lessons learned from the creation and implementation of the Oakland Fund, a restorative loan fund that provides affordable and patient capital to underserved small businesses—particularly entrepreneurs of color—in Oakland, Calif.

KOIS teamed up with Haqdarshak to analyze the social protection landscape in India for internal migrants, artisans, aspirational youth, e-rickshaw drivers, and self-employed workers. It is part of KOIS’ work to build the Dignity in Labor platform, an initiative that aims to enable sustainable livelihoods, improve access to formal credit for informal workers and connect them with social security provisions.

The Impact Investing Institute has developed a guide that acts as a roadmap for achieving a fair and inclusive transition to net zero in emerging and frontier markets, with a focus on the use of catalytic capital. It offers guidance and case studies for catalytic capital providers, including development finance institutions, governments, philanthropic organizations, private investors, and corporations, to help mobilize private capital that addresses climate action, social justice and local development needs.

A new report from Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) showcases the effectiveness of catalytic capital in supporting African SMEs. It evaluates the current financing landscape, including capital gaps, offering an analysis of risks and opportunities for investors, as well as recommendations for expanding the use of catalytic capital to fuel growth among small and medium-sized businesses on the continent. A short video accompanies the detailed report, explaining the value of catalytic capital and key conclusions from I&P’s analysis.

This new issue brief from The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) provides a framework for private institutional investors who aim to address climate challenges through their capital. “By making use of targeted catalytic capital and other strategies, these investors can help make significant progress towards global decarbonization targets by accelerating the build-out of climate infrastructure in emerging markets,” the authors write.

A report from the Impact Finance Research Consortium (IFRC) sheds new light on the features and applications of catalytic capital. A collaboration of the Wharton ESG Initiative, the Harvard Business School Social Impact Collaboratory, and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth, IFRC analyzed when, how, and why impact investors deploy catalytic capital and reports on recommendations for building the field of catalytic capital in the future.

In a new white paper, EVPA, one of C3’s network partners, takes a close look at how impact investors can be more catalytic in their provision of capital, in pursuit of impact for people and planet. “Funding is not flowing to transformational solutions at the accelerated rate most impact capital providers had hoped for; what we’re doing isn’t working fast enough. How can we mobilise more capital to fund a fair and green society that works for all? Can the rate of our transformation match our aspirations?”

AVPN offers an overview of the work of Artha Impact, an advisory firm that facilitates deployments of patient capital, with a goal of investing in early-growth stage high-impact businesses in India that focus on underserved communities. Artha Impact supports the development and the de-risking of businesses that can scale and raise millions of dollars further down the line and eventually attract larger equity investors.

Mumbai-based 200 Million Artisans researched the impact of catalytic capital on India’s Creative Manufacturing and Handmade (CMH) sector. Surveying entrepreneurs, it concluded that “the right financing at the right time, right place, and right terms” can help the CMH sector catalyse 200 million livelihoods as well as large-scale gender inclusion, while also advancing positive climate action.

First Peoples Worldwide (FPW) studied the role that catalytic capital plays in “forwarding self-determination and non-extractive investing” for Indigneous Peoples in the United States. “Native Peoples have built economic power; Native businesses are flourishing; and there are ample opportunities to fund successful Native enterprises both on and off reservations,” according to the new report, Indigenizing Catalytic Capital.

In a new report, the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) focuses on the role of catalytic capital as a force multiplier for investments in the digital credit industry. The paper draws lessons from how digital credit markets have evolved, driven by initial catalytic capital investments that spurred further investments, and highlights guardrails needed at the market level to ensure that growth is responsible, impactful, and leads to inclusive market development.

New research from Periféria Policy and Research Center looks at the potential of catalytic capital investments in the housing sector of Central and South-Eastern Europe (CSEE), where housing has become increasingly unaffordable. The report focuses on housing markets in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Croatia, Hungary, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia. It also considers the need for investment in sustainable housing solutions to address the climate crisis. C3 funded the research through its Strengthening the Evidence Base workstream.

Catalytic capital plays a vital “sustaining” role for funds, initiatives, and enterprises that take on the world’s most difficult challenges. This is the third and final guidance note to emerge from the C3 Learning Lab series, detailing how, when, and why investors seek out these kinds of opportunities.

From Open Capital Advisors, a “Voices from the Field” report highlights the experience of small and growing businesses in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing particularly on agriculture and health care and the underlying challenges that have left a $96 billion funding gap in those sectors. C3 funded this research as part of our Strengthening the Evidence Base workstream.

From Ashesi University and Impact Investing Ghana, new research details how patient, long-term catalytic capital has been deployed in Ghana’s small and medium enterprises (SME) financing sector. C3 funded this research as part of our Strengthening the Evidence Base workstream.

New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) elevates key insights about racial wealth gaps. Some key takeaways: racialized definitions of risk continue to hold back capital; 2020 financial commitments can mostly be viewed as market corrections rather than catalytic; and there is evidence of catalytic capital investments that can be scaled. C3 funded the research as part of our Strengthening the Evidence Base workstream.

EVPA highlights the work of Rethink Ireland, which invests in Irish social enterprises, and its support for Sensational Kids, a nonprofit that provides therapeutic support to children with special educational needs. Rethink Ireland provided funding and organizational development support that built the capacity of Sensational Kids and attracted financing for a new National Child Development Centre.

In it’s Year 2 Learning Report, Aceli Africa reflects on its engagement with lenders in support of 713 loans totaling $85 million to agri-SMEs across Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. C3 supported this work as part of our Strengthening the Evidence Base workstream.

Banner Photo: Sustainable forestry, Rwanda/courtesy of Total Impact Capital.

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