Scaling Our Impact
In 2012, Root Capital embarked on a five-year strategic plan for increasing our impact over the next phase of our growth. At the core of this five-year vision, called our Scaling Impact Plan, is an ongoing commitment to balancing our mission of lending to early-stage, high impact agricultural businesses, with no access to capital, with accompanying our clients’ growth over time. We will implement our Scaling Impact Plan following our three-pronged strategy for maximizing our impact: Finance, Advise and Catalyze.
Our specific goals over the next five years (2012-2017):
- Triple our lending activities to reach 600 businesses, more than 1.7 million farming households, and 10 million people by 2017.
- Reach operational self sufficiency (i.e. break even) by the end of 2015 in our Sustainable Trade Fund (STF) with an active portfolio balance of $140 million. The STF comprises our core lending for sustainable export crops like coffee and cocoa.
- Push the frontier of agricultural finance further into underserved markets by lending in domestic value chains, and by commercializing loan products for new industries developed within our Innovation portfolio. By the end of 2016, we project making $50M in disbursements through our newer Frontier Portfolios.
- Train 300 SGBs through our Financial Advisory Services (FAS) program, preparing enterprises with growth potential to qualify for credit by strengthening their business processes in the areas of business and administrative management, financial planning, accounting, risk management, internal credit, and loan application preparation.
- Develop and pilot new curricula and training products, such as e-learning platforms and mobile applications, to continually refine our existing training methodologies and meet the needs of our clients.
- Build a marketplace of lenders serving rural small and growing businesses by demonstrating a model of high-impact, replicable agricultural lending that other financial institutions can adopt.
- Advance metrics and impact studies that demonstrate the impact of extending credit and financial management to rural SGBs.
- Collaborate with our peer lending institutions to establish standards and best practices for the nascent industry of smallholder agricultural finance.
- Decentralize our operations (i.e., risk management, loan closing, credit authority and accounting) to the regions. As of mid-2012, more than 50 percent of Root Capital’s 100 employees are located in our nine field locations.
New Initiatives to Help Us Achieve Our Vision
Root Capital is launching two cross-cutting initiatives in 2012 to help us achieve the goals of our Scaling Impact Plan:
- The Women in Agriculture Initiative (the WAI, pronounced “way”) aims to increase the flow of capital to SGBs that provide reliable economic opportunities to women as well as to men. This is based on the strongly held belief that increasing the economic prospects of female farmers is one of the most efficient ways to grow rural prosperity for families and communities.
- Climate Smart Agriculture Initiative (CSA), through which we seek to unlock the ability of SGBs to empower small-scale farmers to adopt climate-smart technologies and practices and become positive stewards of the ecosystems that are inextricably linked to rural prosperity.