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© iAko R. / WWF-Madagascar

The South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) Venture Builder aims to develop a pipeline of sustainable, community-led "blue" enterprises to improve local livelihoods and reduce pressure on ecosystems. These enterprises are often vulnerable, undervalued and unable to obtain seed financing.

Developed under the Our Blue Future platform, the SWIO Venture Builder is working to identify and incubate the most promising small-scale enterprises, either individually or collectively, to the point where they present an attractive business opportunity to local microfinance schemes, patient capital, local banks and private investors.

The SWIO Venture Builder builds on WWF’s existing activities and implementation networks in the region. In this way, it benefits from years of relationship-building, governance-enhancing and ecosystem-strengthening work.
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK

The SWIO Venture Builder is an inclusive, multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder entity designed to support micro, small and medium enterprises from inception to investment-readiness, so bridging the development gap that typically exists between the philanthropy-driven development of community enterprises and the incubation of investment-ready businesses.


The SWIO Venture Builder will bring much-needed capacity-building and finance to the region to strengthen existing and start-up coastal community-based enterprises.

A key role of the SWIO Venture Builder’s regional portfolio steering committee will be to strengthen the enabling environment for the SWIO Venture Builder’s long-term success by:

  • Engaging national governments to shape and implement enabling policies

  • Building local financing institutions’ interest and capacity to develop financial products better suited to the emerging sustainable blue MSME market

  • Building the capacity of implementation partners and entrepreneur support organisations in the region to better support coastal communities

  • Identifying value chains and unlocking market access.

The SWIO Venture Builder will draw on aggregated grant funding to incubate a portfolio of coastal community-led sustainable MSMEs, as well as local value chains from across the region. Non-financial support will also be offered through embedded local and regional implementation partners.
© Justin Jin / WWF France
The SWIO Venture Builder will accommodate a range of enterprises – from small-scale, low-return prospects to those that are more promising in terms of private-sector financing.

Only businesses that are sustainable and align with the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles will be eligible for inclusion in the SWIO Venture Builder’s portfolio of MSMEs.

The uncertainty around allocating grant funding to this historically underfunded region will be shared across the portfolio of MSMEs, derisking opportunities for returns, even if one of the enterprises does not deliver as expected.
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK
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