A Southeast Asia-focused SEAF Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund (SWEEF) has been able to secure a commitment of US$16.2 million from a Danish occupational pension scheme Paedagogernes Pension (PBU) according to a press statement released by the latter.
Even though the pension scheme will be the major investor of the fund in the official launch and the first close of the fund, the fund has also received support from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the regional development arm of the UN, and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
SWEEF I set up to be a regional investment fund that targets women-led startups in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. It will also invest in sectors where women comprise a large portion of labour and in companies that “demonstrate a commitment to gender equality”.
“The investment into SWEEF has a clear link to our strategy for responsible investments, where we focus on empowering women and strengthening gender equality,” said Sune Schackenfeldt, CEO of PBU.
“Women in developing countries are the foundation of the family. With investments that have a special focus on women’s conditions, we strengthen their employment, earnings and opportunities for social and economic advancement,” he added.
“We have learnt that meeting the needs of women entrepreneurs requires us to innovate and go beyond the usual lending modalities towards promoting mentorship, business development support services and access to growth capital and that is exactly what our partnership with SEAF offers,” said ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary Kaveh Zahedi.