British International Investment
29 November 2022

British International Investment marks return to the Caribbean with $10 million investment in SEAF Caribbean SME Growth Fund

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, today announces a $10 million commitment to SEAF Caribbean SME International LP. BII’s commitment brings the total fund size to $54 million.

The investment which represents BII’s first investment in the Caribbean since 2000 follows the DFIs announcement, in October, of its return to investing in the region.

The new capital from BII will enable SEAF Caribbean Management LLC (SEAF), the fund manager, to back high-growth SMEs and bolster businesses’ ability to scale their operations and support the integration of the region. The funding will be targeted at SMEs with strong potential to create and increase income-generating opportunities in the English-speaking Caribbean Common Market (“CARICOM”). These opportunities are expected to be primarily in form of jobs at wide-ranging skill levels, which will improve skills diversity and promote inclusive economic opportunities for people across the Caribbean.

Entrenching private equity in the Caribbean has historically been challenging and debt financing has remained the primary source of funding for businesses. With over three decades of investing in SMEs across Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, SEAF can play a role in shaping the investment landscape across the Caribbean markets. Through this fund, SEAF’s emerging markets expertise will be leveraged to build and demonstrate the value that private equity can bring to both businesses and potential LP investors across the region.

BII is joining a diverse investor base consisting of regional commercial institutional investors including Sagicor, RBC Investment Management, ATL Pension Fund and Aspire Fund Management; government-backed financial institutions including Unit Trust Corporation and Development Bank of Jamaica; and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Invest – the Latin America and Caribbean DFI.

David Rutley MP, Minister for the Americas and Caribbean, said: “British International Investment’s return to the Caribbean after 20 years demonstrates the UK delivering on its commitment to provide honest and reliable financing in small island developing states. I am delighted BII’s new investment is backing high-growth SMEs with the aim to create thousands of much-needed jobs across the region.”

Clarisa De Franco, Managing Director & Head of Private Equity Funds at BII, said: “Our new partnership with SEAF represents a significant step for BII’s return to investing in the region. We are proud to back an experienced partner with extensive local knowledge and networks that will help to accelerate our ambition to support SME and private sector growth in the CARICOM region, which will in turn boost productive, sustainable and inclusive opportunities that uplift lives and livelihoods.”

“I am excited that BII will partner with leading local private sector investors to play a role in strengthening the nascent PE ecosystem in the Caribbean and opening up access to new forms of finance that will transform the market and support businesses in pursuing opportunities across the wider region.”

Leo Williams, Managing Director for the SEAF Caribbean SME Growth Fund, said: “We and our Fund’s existing investors are delighted at BII’s joining the Fund at a critical time in the development of the Caribbean region.  BII’s commitment to help restart the region’s growth after COVID, diversify the region’s energy supply and usage, and help raise private sector productivity across the region amid wide-spread generational succession, is fully in line with the Fund’s and our objectives.”


Notes to Editors

British International Investment: Toyosi Adebayo | [email protected]

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