COVID-19 response facilities

British International Investment Plus has set up two new technical assistance facilities to
support our current investee businesses.

The two British International Investment Plus facilities – the ‘COVID-19 Business Response Facility’ and the ‘COVID-19 Emergency Technical Assistance Facility’ have already completed two rounds of funding applications and successfully approved several grants.

We had an overwhelming response to our first application round in April, receiving 45 applications totalling around £4 million for both facilities. We approved around £1 million of support for 22 projects.

The 10 projects funded under the Business Response Facility are to support healthcare companies and businesses distributing basic goods and pharmaceutical products in Africa and South Asia.

12 projects are being funded under the Emergency Technical Assistance Facility, several of these to produce portfolio-wide guidance and tools.

Round two of applications was launched in early May and was also heavily subscribed. Results of this round will be available soon.

Examples of grants which have been approved from the first round are listed below:


Emergency Technical Assistance Facility:


Portfolio-wide job protection guidelines

Challenge: COVID-19 has placed significant stress on companies and their workers, and revealed the need for detailed guidance on how to manage job protection and retrenchment.

Support: British International Investment is engaging a service provider to develop and share practical guidelines for job protection, managing worker welfare, and retrenchment. These guidelines have been made available across British International Investment’s portfolio.


Self-diagnostic planning tool for early stage businesses

Challenge: COVID-19 has presented varied and unpredictable challenges for companies, and there is a great need, particularly for early-stage ventures, for businesses to understand and predict their biggest risks.

Support: British International Investment Plus is engaging a service provider to develop a COVID-19 self-diagnostic tool, which will allow up to 150 of British International Investment’s early-stage investees to identify key risks, as well as mitigating actions to address them.


Credit-risk management support

Challenge: A micro-finance institution in our portfolio faced challenges in business continuity and understanding the risks of COVID-19, particularly around credit-risk management, and internal and client communication.

Support: British International Investment Plus funding will engage specialised expertise in a number of areas, including portfolio review, credit-risk identification, assessing business strategy, and loan restructuring and recovery.


Leadership coaching support

Challenge: Operating in the particularly challenging environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the senior management of one of our investees has been put under particular stress, with their Chief Operating Officer needing to be evacuated and replaced due to underlying health conditions.

Support: British International Investment Plus funding will support the company to engage coaching and mentoring services for their senior management, particularly to support the newly-appointed COO with transition and preparation measures.


Business Response Facility


Developing new health products in India

Challenge: The lock-down and social distancing in India is presenting challenges with access to medical services.

Support: One of British International Investment’s investees saw two opportunities: to accelerate the roll-out of their platform that enables remote doctors’ appointments; and to launch a new digital product to assess symptoms and provide guidance to people who have COVID-19 symptoms. British International Investment Plus will contribute towards the costs of hiring additional resources to enable the quicker launch and roll-out of those two products.


Adapting the business model of a pharmaceutical distribution company in Uganda to the pandemic

Challenge: The Government of Uganda has ordered the closure of many non-essential retail outlets. However, pharmacies can continue operating in order to provide essential medicine but must do so in a way that is safe for its employees.

Support: One company has identified an opportunity to adapt its business model to continue to provide essential medicines to under served populations. This includes staff training, new health and safety protocols, e-prescriptions, and partnering with an e-commerce company to distribute medicine. British International Investment Plus will contribute towards part of the costs of additional resources and equipment needed to accelerate the adoption of the new model.