Portfolio for Impact (PI)
In multiple African countries from Mali to Togo, small rural farmers have been able to increase food production over an extended growing season because they obtained microfinance loans to buy irrigation equipment. In India, where almost half the student population attends private schools, one company is providing loans to make these schools affordable to more low-income students. And in emerging markets around the world, where access to financial services poses severe restrictions on economic growth and well-being, a technology company delivers small credits to prepaid mobile phone users to support more seamless commerce and bill payment transactions.
All these businesses have received OPIC financing under OPIC's Portfolio for Impact (PI) program, launched in 2014 to focus on supporting high-impact projects that might be particularly challenged to obtain financing. Almost four years later, the success of the PI program has helped establish that small businesses can achieve a powerful positive social impact, and small amounts of financing can go a long way to supporting their mission. In 2016, OPIC made PI a permanent OPIC program.
"Small players often focus on markets, regions or client groups that are being overlooked," explains Dia Martin, managing director on OPIC's social enterprise finance team and manager of the PI program. “And some of the most transformative ideas are developed by highly innovative, early stage ventures that could have a significant development impact if provided with the necessary capital and resources to reach a commercially sustainable scale. At OPIC, we challenged ourselves to support more of these smaller, highly developmental projects in a resource efficient manner.”
As a leader in Impact Investing, OPIC aims to support businesses of all sizes address common development challenges such as access to education, housing and healthcare as well as financial inclusion and climate change. OPIC created the Portfolio for Impact (PI) program to facilitate financing of highly developmental and innovative early stage projects. This fact sheet provides information on the PI program's guidelines and features.
Projects supported by the PI program
Learn more about the projects supported by the PI program
Read more: Small loans, big impact: A look at OPIC’s PI program
Portfolio for Impact: How OPIC assembled a collection of small, high impact projects
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OPIC will consider projects that meet the following criteria.
- Geography: All OPIC eligible countries; preference will be given to least developed countries (LDCs) and post-conflict countries.
- Target Sectors: Water, sanitation, housing, healthcare, agriculture, education, renewable energy, financial services as well as other sectors where projects can support positive social impact.
- Target segments: Priority will be given to projects that target low-income populations and provide economic livelihoods for vulnerable populations.
Applicants interested in PI should complete the OPIC financing application Form 115. Once an application is submitted, the assigned OPIC investment officer will determine if a project meets the minimum impact and credit criteria for PI. If selected, the project will go through the PI underwriting and approval process tailored for smaller, high impact projects. Projects that are not selected for PI can still be considered by OPIC under our standard OPIC financing procedures.
For more information, contact PortfolioforImpact@opic.gov.