Cepheus Growth Fund I

Ethiopia Manufacturing, Other consumer services

Cepheus Growth Capital Partners is a private equity firm focused on providing growth capital to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ethiopia. Founded in 2016 by two Ethiopian partners, Berhane Demissie and Kassahan Kebede, Cepheus is based in Addis Ababa.

The Cepheus Growth Fund I (CGCF) is the first fund raised by the fund manager, and will focus on high-growth firms in the manufacturing, consumer services, agriculture and agri-processing sectors.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

In late 2017, British International Investment made a $15 million commitment to the first close of CGCF, alongside the European Investment Bank, which committed $15 million, and Norfund. The fund is the first in Ethiopia to attract a significant amount of local investment.  The fund is looking to raise a total of $100 million and will target investments in the $5 million to $15 million range. Our investment will provide much-needed capital to support the growth of Ethiopia's SMEs and the development of the country’s nascent private equity industry.

Expected impact

In 2015, Ethiopia was the fastest growing economy in Africa and the government has ambitious goals to transform it into a middle-income country by 2025. W

ith a population of almost 100 million, 60 per cent of whom are under 25, significant energy resources and low-cost labour, it has the makings of a healthy private sector. 

However, many of the fast-growing SMEs in Ethiopia are family-owned businesses that lack the expansion capital to develop to their full long-term potential. 

As well as providing finance, the fund manager will support these businesses in enhancing their management teams, operations and corporate governance to enable them to scale-up and compete with international counterparts. This, in turn, will support job creation – direct and indirect – and contribute to the country’s wider economic growth.

Environmental and social aspects

We will work closely with the fund manager to develop and implement an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) for this first-time fund.

Key facts


Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.

Africa, East Africa

We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people. For funds, the sectors listed here are those the fund has invested in so far.

Manufacturing, Other consumer services
Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

Intermediated investment
Fund manager:
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date British International Investment committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that British International Investment committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

November 2017

For direct investments, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the fund.


This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.


Investments made by this fund

  • Active
  • Exited
Investment name Country Region Sector Start date Status
Tabor Ceramics Products S.C.

Tabor Ceramics is an Ethiopian domestic producer of ceramic products including tiles, sanitaryware, tableware and ceramic insulators used in electricity distribution lines.

View investment details

Ethiopia Africa, East Africa Other consumer services November 2019 Active
East Africa Lion Brands Manufacturing S.C.

East Africa Lion Brands Manufacturing is a soap and detergents producer in Ethiopia.

View investment details

Ethiopia Africa, East Africa Manufacturing April 2020 Active

We are now British International Investment