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Efiko Academy supported the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to strengthen their innovative finance skills. This case documents how Efiko helped SDC’s colleagues become familiar with impact-linked instruments and catalytic capital.
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About The Client

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is responsible for the overall coordination of Swiss development activities and humanitarian aid efforts. By collaborating with partner countries and organisations, SDC endeavours to establish structural conditions that pave the way for stable economic growth, ultimately unleashing the untapped potential of development activities.

The Challenge

To be more impact-oriented, development finance actors face the need to broaden their financial toolkit to better align their financial support with the impact performance of investees and grantees. By applying innovative finance tools, they can address the “missing middle” challenge more efficiently. This requires crafting financial solutions tailored to impact ventures, using instruments that go beyond plain equity or classic debt. A particular challenge for SDC is the team’s geographical spread covering 4 continents, each with a different level of maturity, resulting in a need to align practices but leave room to tailor solutions to local standards.

In order to effectively tackle these obstacles, SDC decided to strengthen its internal capacity for innovative finance, and in particular hybrid deal structuring, enabling its global team members to play an active role locally and spearhead social innovation in SDC’s interventions.

Peter Sidler from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

"I really appreciate that both the self-paced and live components were online as I don't think I or others would have made it to Europe this time of the year. It was super well planned and managed, and the content was nicely adjusted to our realities."

Peter Sidler

Head of Domain Employment and Income

The Solution

To tackle the challenge, SDC undertook Efiko’s training on Structuring Hybrid Impact Investments, developed hand in hand with the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE). This training starts from the mainstream financial instruments to introduce and showcase the use and set-up of various innovative financial products. It was undertaken to enhance the team’s capacity in impact investment structuring, equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to become familiar with impact finance and fostering catalytic partnerships.

Aya Maraqa, holding the position of Regional Program Officer for Migration and Development in Jordan, along with Rebecca Bucherer, who serves as the Regional Advisor for Inclusive Economic Development based in Bangladesh, and Peter Sidler, who holds the role of Head of Domain Employment and Income in Tanzania, participated in the hybrid training program. Short e-learning modules that helped align the team on key concepts and innovations were intertwined with interactive live sessions led by Efiko’s trainers.
Rebecca Bucherer from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

“The overall learning experience was very well structured. The combination of short videos, exercises, real-world examples and case studies made it engaging, and not like a burden on top of an already busy work schedule.”

Rebecca Bucherer

Regional Advisor

Bringing People Together

“The online course offered an opportunity to unite with colleagues who are otherwise rarely sharing the same physical workspace,” says Peter. SDC’s colleagues are spread all over the globe and could join the training from Tanzania, Jordan, Bangladesh and Switzerland. “This virtual solution provided an ideal platform for bringing us together and enabling collaboration across different offices,’ Peter continued.

Rebecca Bucherer from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

“The case studies covered different types of investors but also impact businesses for which we discussed different financing solutions. This mix was really helpful to get some practical insights and put myself in the shoes of those stakeholders I’m working with daily.”

Rebecca Bucherer

Regional Advisor

By fostering this sense of connection and inclusivity, the course creates an environment where a wide array of perspectives can be shared, enriching the overall learning experience. “It offers so much value to bring unique perspectives around the table, everyone coming with different financing solutions for specific cases and hearing each other’s experiences,” says Aya.

Broadening Horizons

““Markus’ (the lead trainer) experience expanded my view beyond the usual grant financing, shedding light on the unique needs and growth strategies of social enterprises. I am not directly involved in our investments, but I've gained a deeper understanding through discussions brought forward in the course. This newfound knowledge allows me to connect social enterprises with fitting investors and support structures at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey”, according to Aya. “These insights were extremely instructive given we deal in our daily work with the question of how to best tailor support to maximise their positive social and environmental impact,” Peter added.

“It’s key to have a comprehensive understanding of the landscape of financing options to design the most effective programs. I feel I’m more aware of the options, and gained lots of practical insights into different instruments and their challenges,” Rebecca explains. “It was important for me to go beyond the theory and really broaden my horizon with practical cases to navigate the obstacles we regularly face,” she added.
Aya Maraqa from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

“Taking a bird's-eye view of our projects has been enlightening. This perspective has allowed me to better categorise our efforts and explore alternative support options.”

Aya Maraqa

Regional Program Officer

What’s next?

The more you learn, the more you realise how much you don’t know yet! From a 2nd cohort of SDC colleagues to a shortened version of the training for directors, various options are on the table to further internalise key innovative finance skills at SDC.

Through our interactions with Peter, Rebecca, and Aya, it became clear that Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) is a field to explore further and strengthen. “Identifying impact indicators and setting up a measurement plan is crucial for us to understand where we have the largest added value and what to improve. Our management and also the broader public expect to hear what the impact is of our programmes. Learning how to better measure, manage and report our impact is high on my list,” says Peter.
Peter Sidler from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

“In 14 years I have undergone quite a big number of trainings. This one has certainly been among the more interesting ones, which on top is actually tailored to my current job, thus very relevant.”

Peter Sidler

Head of Domain Employment and Income

Looking for an in-house training solution for your team? Find out more about our offers here.

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Structuring Hybrid Impact Investments

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