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SEB Microfinance Funds contribute to socioeconomic development

Microfinancing is a way of making capital available for people in developing countries, when starting or growing their business. At the same time it offers investors an attractive financial return.

SEB was a pioneer among Swedish banks when launching its first microfinance fund in 2013, and today the funds have contributed to supporting almost 3 000 000 jobs worldwide.


Businesses that have received financial services through SEB Microfinance Funds

Meet some of the people that our funds and partners help through microfinancing.

Samunnati, India & microfinance

Gratitude Farms is an Indian, agri-tech startup, working to spread organic farming methods.

Baobab, Ivory Coast & microfinance

Tamia is a hairdresser from the Ivory Coast who was able to take her business to the next level, with the help of a microloan.

Lulalend, South Africa & microfinance


Keneilwe Modisane is the CEO of Sizzling Catering in South Africa. Through a microloan, she was able to save her business when the pandemic struck. 

How microfinance funds work

In short, this is how microfinance funds work:

  • The microfinance fund is created, and investors, such as insurance companies and municipalities, place money in the fund. We offer microfinance funds in local currency, unhedged, to institutional investors.
  • The invested capital is forwarded to selected microfinance institutions around the globe. It is from these institutions that the entrepreneurs apply for loans.
  • The microfinance funds operate for a certain period of time, for example over a five year period, while the fund is running millions of people in developing countries get access to financing.
  • The fund is ended. The borrowers have gained a chance to change their lives through entrepreneurship. The investors have helped make a difference in these people’s lives, plus they have earned interest on their money. 

Key achievements during the life of the funds*

  • End clients reached 1 649 024
  • Estimates number of jobs supported 2 946 219
  • Female borrowers 48%
  • Number of countries 68
  • Number of currencies 51

*February 2022 

Read our reports to get an overview of the investment strategy and portfolio of the different microfinance funds, as well as the financial and social performance achieved by the funds. 

Reports from the Microfinance Funds 

What is microfinance?

Microfinance is the provision of access to capital and financial services for unemployed or low-income individuals and businesses, with the goal of improving social and economic development, generally in lower-income economies. Microfinance is offered in the form of credit, savings, remittances, payment services, insurance, and other basic financial products. Microfinance extends the reach of financial markets where they would otherwise not go. It provides low-to-middle income entrepreneurs with services they need to start or grow a business, it also increases their capacity to absorb financial shocks, access goods of first necessity, accumulate assets, and invest in human capital such as health and education. 

About Symbiotics

Symbiotics provides investment advisory services to SEB Investment Management for their investments in the microfinance sector. Symbiotics is the leading market access platform for impact investing in emerging and frontier markets, offering market research, investment advisory and asset management services to professional investors. Symbiotics currently employs over 160 people (>35 nationalities) and is headquartered in Geneva, with offices in Zurich, London, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Singapore, and Cape Town. Since 2004, Symbiotics has structured nearly 5,000 investment transactions, in over 450 financial institutions, across 90 emerging and frontier markets.

Important information 

Past performance does not guarantee future performance. The value of investment funds and other financial instruments may rise as well as fall and there is no guarantee you will recover your original investment. Key investor information documents and prospectuses are available on www.sebgroup.lu/funds.