Small Enterprise Assistance Funds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Industry Impact Investing
Founded Washington DC, United States (1989 (1989))
Headquarters Washington DC, United States
Number of locations
27 offices (2013)
Area served
Key people
Hubertus van der Vaart
(Executive Chairman)
AUM Increase $400 million (2012)
Number of employees
145 (2012)

SEAF is an international investment management group that provides growth capital and business assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging and transition markets underserved by traditional sources of capital. Through their network of offices around the world, SEAF invests in entrepreneurs that seek to build scalable successful businesses, hoping to realize both attractive returns for their investors and a measurable development impact in local communities.[1]


Founded in 1989 as the private equity investment subsidiary of the international development organization CARE, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds ("SEAF") evolved in 1995 into an independent organization specializing in the sponsorship and management of investment funds targeting growth-oriented, emerging enterprises located in countries underserved by traditional sources of capital. SEAF has an extensive track record of establishing local private equity investment capabilities and investing in SMEs in emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. As a global leader in SME finance, SEAF has managed or is managing 32 Funds across 30 countries with USD 658 million in aggregate committed capital, of which over USD 400 million has been invested through 378 investments in SMEs, with 214 completed exits (through December 31, 2012). Investors in SEAF-sponsored funds represent a cross section of public and private institutions, including multilateral financial institutions, private foundations, pension funds, insurance companies, family offices, banks and other independent financial institutions.

SEAF's scale and geographic scope, as well as centralized, web-based system of accounting, control, information-sharing, and valuation services permits it to develop and work in a complementary way with full teams of largely local private equity personnel worldwide. As a global fund management organization with a focus on building strong local teams and more than 23 years of investing in early-stage, fast-growing companies, SEAF is uniquely able to monitor investments, provide management with hands-on operational support, comparable business experiences, benchmarks, valuations, legal structures, and the know-how and connections that accelerate the growth and profitability of portfolio investments. SEAF is able to apply its institutional knowledge and best investment and fund management practices, enforce effective oversight over its Funds, and provide regular and accurate reporting, compliance and disclosure functions to its investors. Additionally, SEAF goes beyond the role of fund manager as it works in many other functions. SEAF's experience at the crossroads of developmental and financial investing allows it to excel as a thought leader. SEAF has published its own research reports and findings, and has been recognized by other organizations and academic institutions for its industry leadership.

In 2006, SEAF established the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED). CEED's mission is to develop, connect and mentor entrepreneurs so that they can strengthen their businesses, create jobs and accelerate economic prosperity. Building a trusted community of entrepreneurs is paramount in to CEED's approach. CEED has become a recognized leader in cultivating the sustainable entrepreneur eco-systems that will help achieve this mission.

SEAF also has a well-regarded system of written policies and procedures in all areas of fund management, which forms the basis for the transfer of knowledge and training and gives all SEAF Funds a common benchmark for performance. The culture, systems and practices at SEAF place a high priority and importance on timely, accurate and transparent accounting and reporting and strong corporate governance that promotes accountability and encourages objective measurement of results. SEAF's centralized performance measurement and investor-reporting capacity includes:

  • Financial controls and accounting
  • Investment strategy development
  • Team building, support, and guidance
  • Development of global standard practices and procedures
  • Portfolio management

SEAF Management's investment funds employ a full range of financial instruments including equity, quasi-equity, and structured debt, with a diverse and flexible set of features designed for each opportunity and context. Each fund is typically accompanied by an active technical assistance component, which allows targeted post-investment business development assistance to increase sales and improve operational efficiency. SEAF Management's network of internal specialists and external consultants and industry advisors provide local portfolio companies with access to new customers and global market opportunities, insight into industry best practices, advanced training and strategic planning skills. Finally, SEAF is a world leader in managing funds that are focused on producing measurable development impact in addition to financial returns. SEAF has performed pioneering stakeholder-based research and analysis to quantify the social and economic impact of making commercially sound investments in SMEs. SEAF employs over 140 investment professionals worldwide within a network of 27 offices in 24 countries. [2]

SEAF International Funds[edit]

Below is a list of SEAF's funds and the countries in which they operate:


  • SEAF SME Debt Facility

Central and Eastern European Funds [3][edit]

  • Caresbac Polska
    • Poland
  • Baltics Small Equity Fund (Closed)
    • Estonia
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
  • SEAF Macedonia
  • Central/Eastern Europe Growth Fund
  • SEAF Trans-Balkan Fund
    • Bulgaria through the Trans-Balkan Bulgaria Fund
    • Romania through the Trans-Balkan Romania Fund (Closed)
    • Croatia through the SEAF Croatia
  • SEAF South Balkan Fund
    • Serbia
    • Montenegro
    • Macedonia
  • Georgia Regional Development Fund

Latin American Funds [4][edit]

  • Trans-Andean Fund
    • Peru through the Fondo Transandino Peru Fund
    • Colombia through the Fondo Transandino Colombia Fund
  • Latam Growth Fund
  • Latam Peru Fund

Asian Funds [5][6][edit]

  • Central Asia Small Enterprise Fund
    • Uzbekistan
    • Kazakhstan
    • Kyrgyz Republic
    • Tajikistan
    • Turkmenistan
  • Sichuan Small Investment Fund
    • China
  • SEAF India Investment Growth Fund
  • SEAF Bangladesh Ventures Limited
  • SEAF Blue Waters Growth Fund Limited
    • Vietnam
    • Cambodia
  • Afghan Growth Finance
    • Afghanistan

Impact on Development[edit]

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are often overlooked and therefore referred to as the "missing middle" in the developing world. Recent data results, analysis and case highlights (reports can be found below in the "Publications" section) demonstrate how SMEs can generate employment opportunities in their local communities, serve as links to regional and international markets for smaller local suppliers, and address market deficiencies and customer needs that would otherwise go unaddressed.[7][8]

SEAF and CEED[edit]

In 2005, the SEAF family grew larger with the creation of Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED), a legacy institution of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and SEAF, born out of USAID grant funding in SME equity investments made by SEAF throughout the Balkans, and EBRD in Slovenia. CEED centers provide business development training and technical assistance to entrepreneurs in emerging markets.[9][10]


SEAF is led by a Corporate Board of Directors, an International Advisory Council, and a Management Team based in Washington, DC. The board and the council include business leaders, editors of periodicals, academics, and other international experts. Below is a list of senior management at SEAF:[11]

United States Headquarters[edit]

  • Hubertus van der Vaart, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder (SEAF's other co-founder is Tom Gibson, who now solely provides advisory services).
    Hubertus Jan (Bert) van der Vaart co-founded Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) in 1989, when it was known as the CARE Small Business Assistance Corporation (CARESBAC). In 1992, Mr. van der Vaart negotiated the establishment of CARESBAC/SEAF's first fund in Poland, which grew to $16.8 million total capital under management under his leadership as the fund's Director General. While serving as Director-General of CARESBAC-Polska from August 1994 until May 1997, the company completed 27 SME investments and realized its first 6 exits. In 1997, Mr. van der Vaart was appointed CEO and President of SEAF, where he has since been involved with the establishment and supervision of every SEAF fund, frequently traveling to collaborate with each SEAF fund office. In 2008, he became Executive Chairman of SEAF's Board of Directors.
  • Mildred Callear, Executive Vice President
    She has more than 25 years of experience in the emerging market investment arena. She serves as the Executive Vice President of SEAF and as a member of the SEAF Board of Directors. She shares worldwide management responsibilities for SEAF with the Executive Chairman and CEO and has broad oversight as a Director on SEAF's board. She is involved in investment and corporate policies, fund establishment and implementation, and participation in investment committees and boards of SEAF funds. She has a particular focus on SEAF's relationships with foundations and philanthropies.
  • Donald Lubreski, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
    Don Lubreski serves as SEAF's Chief Financial Officer, providing financial oversight of the worldwide SEAF management entity and the private equity funds and other financing vehicles it manages.

International Fund Managers[edit]

  • Mustafa Kazem, Afghanistan
    He currently serves as the Managing Director of the Afghan Growth Finance (AGF). AGF is a fund/debt facility that invests in growth oriented and innovative SMEs in Afghanistan.
  • Donald Nicholson II, Uzbekistan
    Donald Nicholson II has been the Managing Director of SEAF's Central Asia Small Enterprise Fund since 2002. Before joining CASEF, Mr. Nicholson served as the President of CARESBAC from 1990 to 1991. Mr. Nicholson's experience with SEAF dates back to the organizations inception when it was affiliated with CARE.
  • Jonathan Carr, China and Vietnam
    Jonathan Carr has been a Managing Director of the Sichuan Small Investment Fund since 2001. He has also overseen SEAF's fund in Afghanistan and managed the SEAF Blue Waters Growth Fund in Vietnam. Mr. Carr has been with SEAF since 1994, directing the Poznan office of SEAF's Polish Fund, and the St. Petersburg office in Russia. Mr. Carr has led and closed more than 25 equity investments, including the negotiation of complex bank debt restructuring transactions.
  • Hector Cateriano, Colombia
    Hector Cateriano has over a decade of private equity investment experience in emerging markets (Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America) with SEAF. Mr. Cateriano is SEAF's Managing Director for its Colombian fund (Fondo Transandino Colombia), the pioneering private equity fund investing in Colombian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Since he started for SEAF in Colombia in 2006, Mr. Cateriano has completed the fund's investment cycle with five investments in the financial, health, hospitality, oil services and agribusiness sectors.
  • Gary Dodge, Central and Eastern Europe
    From its establishment in 1998 to its exit in 2010, Mr. Dodge managed SEAF's Baltics Small Equity Fund (BSEF), a private equity fund investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Baltic States. Under his direction, BSEF made equity investments into 23 Baltic companies and completed 22 exits. Since 2003, Mr. Dodge has also managed the SEAF Central and Eastern Europe Growth Fund (Growth Fund) together with Bert van der Vaart, SEAF's executive chairman. With Mr. Dodge's guidance, the Growth Fund made equity investments in nine companies in Croatia, Estonia, Poland and Romania, and completed five exits.
  • Armands Fomicevs, Georgia
    Armands Fomicevs is the Managing Director of SEAF's Georgia Regional Development Fund (GRDF), where he supervised investments in ten companies across the Republic of Georgia. Mr. Fomicevs has worked for SEAF since 1998, when he served as the Principal Investment Officer for Latvia in SEAF's Baltic Small Equity Fund.
  • Hemendra Mathur, India
    Hemendra Mathur is the Managing Director for SEAF India Investment Advisors, managing a sector-dedicated fund for food and agribusiness small and medium enterprises in India. In addition, Mr. Mathur developed innovative business models for market mapping, consumer behavior tracking, retail roll-out, rural business hubs and sourcing that are widely used by industry leaders. Mr. Mathur has strong relationships with entrepreneurs, government officials, policymakers, and in academia in sectors pertaining to food, agribusiness and retail.
  • Nikola Stefanovic, Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro
    Nikola Stefanovic has more than 10 years of direct investment experience. He currently serves as the Managing Director of the SEAF South Balkan Fund, a private equity fund focused on Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Furthermore, Mr. Stefanovic has served as a member of the Board of Directors for five of SEAF's portfolio companies (Finera Factoring, A2B Express Delivery, Gomex, PC Centar, and Logo Holding).
  • Oliver Kosturanov, Macedonia
    He is SEAF's Director General for Macedonia, actively involved in managing the SEAF Macedonia Fund, the Small Investment Fund (SIF), the Micro Investment Fund (MIF) and SEAF South Balkan Fund's activities in Macedonia. Some of Mr. Kosturanov's accomplishments in his various roles at SEAF include completing a full due diligence on over a hundred companies across a broad range of industries, assisting in over 20 investments to small, medium and large enterprises in Macedonia and the neighboring region, and aiding in the successful exit from 12 investments.
  • Piotr Kalaman, Poland
    Piotr Kalaman joined SEAF in 1993 as an Investment Officer of CARESBAC-Polska. He was appointed Deputy Director for Investments in 1995 under Mr. van der Vaart's leadership and became Managing Director of the fund after Mr. van der Vaart's departure. While at SEAF, Mr. Kalaman has played a leading role in 30 investments and 15 exits.
  • Fahim Ahmed, Bangladesh
    He is a Managing Director of SEAF Bangladesh Ventures (SEAF BV). Since joining SEAF in late 2009, Mr. Ahmed has been involved in the formation of SEAF BV and has led the establishment of the local operations. At SEAF, he is responsible for sourcing, appraising, structuring and monitoring investments in Bangladesh.
  • George Zhang, China's Sichuan Province
    George Zhang is a Managing Director of the SEAF Sichuan Small Investment Fund (SSIF), which invests in SMEs in China's Sichuan province. In this role, Mr. Zhang is responsible for originating, negotiating, executing and monitoring investment deals, and adding value to and structuring exits. In addition, Mr. Zhang provides technical assistance to SSIF portfolio companies, maintains relations with the government departments, manages the SSIF internal staff, and assists in fund marketing and communications.
  • Harry Schuster, Peru


"From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding the Impact of Investing in Small and Medium Enterprises" A Data Survey and Case Study Analysis for SEAF Investments

"Defining SMEs: A Less Imperfect Way of Defining Small and Medium Enterprises in Developing Countries" A Brookings Global Economy and Development Report, co-authored by Chairman Hubertus van der Vaart

"The Development Impact of Small and Medium Enterprises: Lessons Learned from SEAF Investments" Volume 1: Main Report

"The Development Impact of Small and Medium Enterprises: Lessons Learned from SEAF Investments" Volume 2: Case Studies

"Social Investors on the Sidelines" Microenterprise Americas Report on SME Investors

"2011 development impact report" Showcasing the impact beyond the Investments

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

As of this edit, this article uses content from "Our history", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, but not under the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.