Unicef-led financing structure to support children-related enterprises

Almost a billion children live in countries where the Sustainable Development Goals remain out of reach, lacking the right of access to healthy food and nutrition, proper healthcare, high-quality primary education, safe drinking water and sanitation services, protection from violence and harmful practices, etc.

A wide range of social enterprises focusing on advancing children’s rights worldwide have been identified, the majority of which is facing a range of specific challenges:

  • Conflicting incentives linked to the pursuit of dual targets (i.e. achieving both social impact and healthy financial returns)

  • Double cost linked to ordinary SME expenditures and cost of demonstrating social impact,

  • Small scale

  • Struggle to drive professionalization and communicate ‘investment readiness’

  • Difficulties in accessing funding

  • Etc.

These challenges call for a targeted financing approach.

UNICEF, a global leader in children-focused programming, with its expertise covering health, education, nutrition, and emergency response, is interested in leveraging its knowledge base, global presence, network and brand name in order to learn from, promote and scale innovative social enterprise models that benefit children and their families.

In parallel, UNICEF is willing to identify and support new ways for traditional donor financing to achieve greater impact through catalyzing impact investment from the private sector.

KOIS was mandated by UNICEF to explore innovative and more result-oriented financial mechanisms and structures that can attract capital from diverse sources (including private-sector impact investors) and be deployed on innovative social enterprises, contributing to greater beneficial outcomes for children and their families. Five key financing structures were identified differing by funding source (i.e. grant funded or debt/equity funded), instrument (i.e. grant, debt, equity) and UNICEF’s potential role.

Sources: Progress for Every Child in the SDG Era, March 2018

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