Energise Africa - From Start Up To Scale
Energise Africa, the UK crowdfunding platform, has released a new report ‘From Start Up to Scale’ that outlines the achievements of the £34 million+ in investments made via the platform since its launch in 2017.The 46-page report highlights the impact that UK investors have made with their money by investing through Energise Africa. It includes detailed case studies as well as overviews of the partner organisations that made the platform the success it has been.
The past decade has seen a huge shift in how people spend, save and invest their money - online bank accounts, contactless card payments, mobile apps, and the incredible growth of both donation and investment-based crowdfunding platforms have produced a financial services landscape for retail customers which is almost unrecognisable to that of ten years ago. The idea that someone sitting at home on their sofa somewhere in the UK could use their mobile phone to create an online account and send money to support a development project thousands of miles away in sub-Saharan Africa would have been almost unthinkable. And that this could be done not as a donation to a charitable endeavour, but as a repayable investment, with a targeted return that was competitive with other similar investment opportunities would probably have made many financial services professionals scoff.
But with Energise Africa closing out two donor-funded programmes from UK Aid and P4G in December 2022, this is indeed the reality, not only of what is achievable, but what is in demand, and steadily gaining traction amongst UK retail investors.
Since launching a little over five years ago, the platform has attracted a user base of over 4,750 everyday people (retail investors) who are investing their money in socially and environmentally impactful companies operating in sub-Saharan Africa.
Across more than 200 campaigns, these people have put over £34 million to work for people and planet, providing accessible, flexible and affordable working capital finance to companies in emerging markets. These companies in turn have provided life-changing products and services to base-of-pyramid customers, often in hard-to-reach communities. From solar-powered lighting solutions on affordable finance plans to irrigation solutions helping smallholder farmers have stable water supplies all year round, and micro-loans to entrepreneurs who would not otherwise have access to finance, UK retail investors are showing a real appetite to find innovative new ways to achieve triple bottom line returns.
In 2023, Energise Africa is planning a move into a new phase of development, expanding the platform to offer investment opportunities in new sectors and geographies, and for the first time, seeking commercial investment of its own, the report looks back at the platform’s activities, challenges and achievements.
In the financial services sector, where success is primarily measured in pounds and pence, we can lose sight of the fact that for many people using Energise Africa (and other similar platforms), the main motivation to invest is the positive social and environmental impact, and the desire to use their money ethically.
The first section of the report, therefore, focuses on the extraordinary impact that has been created thanks to investments made on Energise Africa. Later sections look at platform set up and development; the portfolio, and its diversification over the years; Energise Africa’s thousands of users, the ways they invest their money, and the products that they have invested in.
Any investment carries risk, and the last five years at Energise Africa have not been without defaults and losses (as seen in the portfolio overview on page 21 of the report). Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of investors continue to use the platform to enable companies in emerging markets to deliver impact and we hope this report provides a compelling insight into how and why so many people continue to use Energise Africa to turn their pounds into positive action for people and planet.
We hope you enjoy reading the report on what we have achieved together with our investors and supporters. We look forward to bringing even more positive updates on our progress.
Click to download our report