Plus: Future Planet Capital new ocean fund, SPEAK for Ukraine platform launched by Portuguese startup, and EIB supports Botswana’s Covid resilience programme
The European Commission and the European Investment Fund are directing €500 million to a new equity fund for the blue economy.
This brings the EU’s total financial commitment to the blue economy to €1,5 billion, which is being made available via financial intermediaries for investment in innovative and sustainable blue economy SMEs and start-ups.
This latest announcement is part of InvestEU, an EU-wide programme that provides long-term funding to companies in support of EU policies in sustainable recovery, and is a prolongation of the existing BlueInvest initiative, a funding and business accelerator platform for blue economy technologies.
BlueInvest, which has been funded through the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, has provided coaching and investment for hundreds of SMEs and start-ups in the blue economy over the past three years.
The EIF is expected to publish an open call for expression of interest from investors on its website in the coming weeks.
Future Planet Capital launches €20m blue ocean fund
London based, impact-led venture capital firm Future Planet Capital, has announced the closure of a €20m Blue Ocean Mandate with Barclays Private Bank, and partners the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Monaco government, as part of its Monaco Blue Initiative.
The fund will target companies bringing scalable solutions in three areas of the blue economy: ocean pollution, preservation of marine environments and ecosystems and sustainable marine productivity.
The fund will invest in 8-15 Series A and Series B companies from a shortlist of 190 companies providing scalable solutions in the areas of overfishing, biodiversity loss and pollution, clean energy, green protein, shipping and carbon capture.
The Monaco Blue Initiative is an annual event organised by the Monaco government which invites government representatives, civil society, NGOs, the private sector and the scientific community to come together to discuss ways to protect the marine environment and promote the development of a sustainable blue economy.
SPEAK For Ukraine platform launched
SPEAK For Ukraine, a volunteer-led language support platform, has launched in response to the growing need to integrate the more than four million refugees who have crossed the Ukrainian border since the start of the Russian invasion.
SPEAK for Ukraine, which is part of an impact startup founded in Portugal in 2014 to tackle the social exclusion of migrants and refugees, operates as a platform connecting volunteers with refugees arriving in their home countries to provide language as well as emotional support.
The platform, which has been launched in collaboration with representatives of the European Commission in Portugal and Associação Be Human, and with funding from the Fundação Ageas, will leverage the help of SPEAK’s community of 50,000 volunteers, including 500 Ukrainians, across 23 cities, including its Ukrainian hub in Odesa.
Organisations and civil society can refer refugees, and volunteers can sign up to the platform via their website.
EIB and Norsad back Covid resilience initiative in Botswana
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has partnered with local impact investor Norsad Capital to provide €10m in private sector financing to support businesses impacted by Covid-19 in Botswana.
The 10-year €10m loan, which will be targeted at companies in the manufacturing, agricultural, services and trading sectors, aims to create jobs and build resilience in the local economy to the myriad challenges arising from the pandemic.
This is the first time in eight years that the EIB has supported business investment in Botswana and is part of a wider EIB engagement in Africa to help local companies access finance in the face of health, business and trade challenges linked to COVID-19.
The EIB is a part of Team Europe, which also includes the EU, Member States and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which launched in 2020 to provide a coordinated global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, the EIB has provided more than €8 bn in private and public investment across Africa.