Digitally unlocking SMEs’ potentials: The SDG Impact Investment Platform featured in the Circular Economy event at GC18

Digitally unlocking SMEs’ potentials: The SDG Impact Investment Platform featured in the Circular Economy event at GC18

ABU DHABI, 4 November 2019 – On the second day of the 18th Session of its General Conference, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized a Circular Economy event, supported by the Government of Italy, which immersed the attendees in a real-life investment pitch session.

“The linear model of economic development that has been adopted for 250 years is no longer sustainable. We cannot longer rely on an economic model that leverages the exploitation of natural resources to drive economic development. We are in the need to redesign industrial ecosystem and adopt an alternative model,” highlighted Pietro Calugi, General Manager at Intesa Sanpaolo.

Private financing has the potential to fill the gap between the need for financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of advanced economies, with the momentum behind impact investment (made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return) and SDG portfolio alignment spurring the development of a related, UNIDO-led investment programme.

Understanding that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are key drivers of economic development and thus key stakeholders in the achievement of the SDGs, UNIDO’s Sustainable Development Goal Impact Investment Platform (SIIP) aims at lowering the transaction costs associated with investing in SMEs. With the assistance of its Member States, the SIIP will unlock the potential of SMEs in developing and emerging countries to deliver SDG-aligned impact.

“SIIP is a user-friendly highly-interactive platform enabling the identification of SMEs for possible investments. It will act as repository of information, and it will be critical for the first steps towards an investment. The market need for the impact investment platform is established,” added Stephan Sicars, UNIDO Director of the Environment Department.

Specifically, the SIIP will ensure that SMEs receive technical and financial assistance toward circular business models and that they are able to strengthen their business models for SDG-aligned impacts, with impact investors benefitting from being connected to a steady stream of investment-ready SMEs. The SIIP will be established using advanced technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence to improve transparency and efficiency in assessing the investment-readiness of SMEs.

Three Nigerian SMEs – a steel foundry, a waste management company, and a refrigeration manufacturing company – gave business pitches during which they shared their perspective on how an investment in their company would align with the SDGs. The audience then worked together using a blockchain application to assess the SDG impact of each SME, with a vote among them then determining in which SME the audience would invest in, with each company receiving a small cash prize proportionally to the votes they received.

For more information, please contact:

Fukuya Iino

Industrial Development Officer

Department of Environment

f.iino@unido.org

Giulia Moscardelli

Finance and Monitoring Expert

Department of Environment

g.moscardelli@unido.org

Jason Slater

Chief

Department of Finance

j.slater@unido.org