Needs addressed through technical assistant support

RISE provided investment readiness and post-investment TA support to growth-oriented companies with high potential for social impact through a pool of vetted consultants. RISE partnered with investors and intermediaries to identify and support eligible companies.

The investment readiness TA was designed to support SGBs as they work to become investment ready and assist investors in building an investment pipeline.

The post-investment TA provided business support to social impact entrepreneurs who receive investment funds. This business support was designed to help mitigate risks for investors and support more resilient growth for social impact enterprises. It was also intended to help SGBs move from one round of funding to the next more successfully. RISE accessed full-cost, general, and specialized consultancies as well as pro-and low-bono alternatives.

The RISE TA facility as a multi-investor, multi-sector standalone facility served as a one-stop shop where businesses could access various forms of support through a pool of vetted consultants.

The TA is a discounted repayable grant and TA repayments go into a revolving fund that can be recycled to help other companies. This allowed entrepreneurs to access TA when they needed it but paid for it as their business grew and /or received investment. RISE was designed to be a platform through which additional donors – bilaterals, foundations, corporates, and others – could channel funds to support social impact entrepreneurs and impact investors. This created flexibility in programming and allowed RISE to take on new intervention areas as strategic market needs were identified, and funds became available. Two areas of potential expansion included gender lens investing support and entrepreneurship ecosystem building.


Learnings of TA for SGBs

  • TA is needed but hard to access. By surveying RISE’s TA recipients post-TA, we learned that the majority of SGBs found the assistance to be valuable and indicated that they would not have accessed such services without the RISE reimbursable grant model, which made it more accessible.
  • Paying for TA changes the dynamic. Some programs offer free or deeply discounted TA. As RISE required a down payment for TA plus an agreement to reimburse a significant portion of TA costs over time, this changed the dynamic with TA recipients. SGBs demonstrated ownership, seriousness, and commitment to the TA they received through RISE.
  • Demand oriented TA takes more time but adds significant value. Although it might be more efficient and easier to scale a limited number of pre-determined TA services (such as cash flow management, marketing, and fundraising), the demand-oriented model of RISE ensured that each TA scope of work was tailored to the interests of the SGBs and of the investors (when involved), which meant that the TA was more likely to address the practical needs of the business.
  • SGBs need help prioritizing TA areas. SGBs often need many forms of support. It can therefore be challenging to choose just one area to prioritize. When an investor is involved in TA selection, it is easier for the entrepreneur to prioritize areas of support. However, if SGBs are not yet associated with investors, they typically need assistance analysing options and selecting priorities.
  • Matchmaking benefits from facilitation. Modern technology makes digital matchmaking an attractive option. It is possible for entrepreneurs and consultants to find each other through online platforms. However, RISE TA recipients have appreciated the additional support of team members who help facilitate the process of finding good-fit consultants and support troubleshooting when challenges arise during TA delivery.
  • Affordable TA options needed during Covid-19. During the pandemic, SGBs needed TA more than ever. Yet most businesses faced cash flow challenges. The pro bono support facilitated by RISE, along with its reimbursable grant model, provided two affordable methods for SGBs to access TA during a time of great need.
  • The “missing middle” needs integrated TA.  Although RISE was originally designed to offer one-off short-term TA to SGBs, we saw that SGBs the suffer from the “missing middle” funding gap, often need a portfolio of services and ideally these services would be integrated or at least coordinated to increase synergy and decrease unintentional conflicts of time and bandwidth demands. SGBs seeking to raise their first $100K-500K from an institutional investor would benefit from a combination of general, hands-on coaching – including areas such as strategy and fundraising – as well as targeted, short-term support in areas like IT solution and new social media strategies. Such support would improve the investment ecosystem, build a pipeline for existing investors, and help attract new impact investors to Southeast Asia.