Press Releases

IFC, SEAF Commit to Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises Growth in Bangladesh

In Dhaka:
Sattyakee D’com Bhuyan

Phone: +88 0171-3090-387


Dhaka, Bangladesh, November 7, 2010 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Small Enterprise Assistance Funds today announced the launch of SEAF Bangladesh Ventures, a permanent capital vehicle that will invest in 300 small and medium enterprises in Bangladesh over a period of 10 years.

IFC invested $12 million in initial capital in the initiative in June 2010 to provide structured growth capital of up to $500,000 per investment. Those funds are combined with strategic advisory and business support services to promising small businesses in Bangladesh. SEAF will work with its local strategic partner, Venture Investment Partners Bangladesh Ltd., and target raising an additional $10 million to $15 million in capital for the initiative over a one-year period.

“Access to strategic financial advice is one of the biggest challenges that small and medium enterprises face in our country. IFC and SEAF’s joint initiative will be a real boost for their growth,” said Dr. S. A. Samad, Executive Chairman Bangladesh’s Board of Investment.

“We are excited to partner with IFC to address the underserved needs of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs,” said Bert van der Vaart, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of SEAF. “Ventures will provide long- term financing that would support the development of various sectors of the Bangladeshi economy.”

Reduced availability of trade financing in Bangladesh has posed particular economic challenges for small and medium businesses to grow in recent years. However, this venture facilitates transactions in challenging markets and promotes competitive financing, thereby reducing risk and enabling small and medium enterprises to engage in trade.

Tom Davenport, IFC Regional Director for South Asia said, “IFC is committed to supporting innovative solutions that enhance access to finance for small entrepreneurs. The launch of this ventures comes at an ideal time for Bangladesh where, despite attractive macro-economic trends, small businesses remain capital constrained, often due to a lack of collateral or limited near-term cash flows.”

SEAF’s management team for the venture will be led by its Managing Partners, Dr. Zia Ahmed and Fahim Ahmed, who bring with them extensive experience in evaluating investment opportunities and delivering advisory support to emerging businesses in Bangladesh and across the world.

To learn more about IFC in South Asia, please visit

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit
About SEAF

Founded in 1989, SEAF is an emerging market investment firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in 20 countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. SEAF has invested in over 330 companies across 30 countries, and managed over $500 million in capital. For more information, please visit