Supported by BIOFIN and NUUP, fund will boost companies that conserve and sustainably use biodiversity
The Bioeconomy Acceleration Fund (FAB, its Spanish acronym) is an innovative new fund supporting companies that have a positive impact on ecosystem conservation in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and forestry. FAB’s goal is to finance and develop the capacities of entrepreneurs and companies whose core business depends on biodiversity.
The Fund is part of BIOFIN Mexico’s Bioeconomy Strategy, based on the experience of BIOFIN in mobilizing resources for protecting and restoring biodiversity and the know-how of Nuup in developing more inclusive value chains.
FAB will help address the finance needs in biodiversity-related projects and startups. These investments will also increase knowledge and experience in this nascent sector, boosting investor confidence to attract more funds from the private sector.
Additionally, the Fund will contribute to the impact investment ecosystem, as well as identify new projects for organizations to support, and generate key learnings around barriers and solutions for companies in this field.
FAB is currently providing grants and technical assistance to companies that fulfill these five basic criteria:
1. Bioeconomy: demonstrate that the business model integrates biodiversity as an intrinsic and measurable input.
2. Clear needs: the company must be able to describe how the resources from the FAB will change the organization, how catalytic it will be and why it cannot be financed by other sources.
3. Access to markets: the proposal must represent an opportunity for the company to access new markets or consolidate their presence in current markets.
4. Measurable impact: the environmental and social impact or benefit must be measurable and verifiable.
5. Growth potential: the investment must allow the company or entrepreneurship to have significant grow.
In the last quarter of 2020, the Fund launched a pilot call. Of 21 proposals received, 13 complied with the criteria and six proposals were chosen to be part of the first acceleration program. This process was supervised by and received inputs from an independent advising committee, formed by experts on banking, entrepreneurship, local development, and biodiversity conservation*.
The three projects that have entered the acceleration process are:
To finance research and development of Melipona honey and propolis (a bee glue), conserving rainforest and dry forest in the process.
To finance logistics needs in organic honey, conserving dry forests.
To finance a fund to pay in advance to producers for shade coffee, conserving tropical rainforest.
The three selected projects for the preparation process and that will receive technical assistance are:
- Maestras del mezcal: for infrastructure and certification for mezcal, conserving grasslands and bushes
- Neminatura: for certifications and marketing priorities in trout aquaculture, conserving coniferous forests
- Moluscos del Mayab: for infrastructure and capacity development on squid aquaculture, conserving coastal and marine ecosystems
In this first stage, the impact indicators (environmental, social, and financial), the environmental and social safeguards and the sustainability strategies of the business models will be tested with the selected projects. These lessons learned will be used in the future calls of the Fund, the next one is foreseen to be available on the second quarter of 2021.
Finally, it is important to mention that the finance and governance structure of the Fund allows to expand and include a bigger number of entrepreneurships. Therefore, once the first results are presented, the FAB could offer rounds of investment to partners, allies, and potential funders.
To contact the team and the Fund: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
*The Committee is formed by Sebastien Proust, National Coordinator of UNDP’s Small Grant Programme; Jon Ryan, biodiversity expert; Armando Laborde, CEO of New Ventures; Mariuz Calvet, Director of Sustainability and Responsible Investing of Grupo Financiero Banorte (one of the biggest private banks in the country); Juan Manuel Frausto, Director of the Forest and Watersheds Conservation Program of the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (FMCN); and Daniela Torres, National Coordinator of BIOFIN Mexico.