ANNOUNCEMENT: BRAC International Microfinance Launches Debt Programme . Read More

Recognizing that one size does not fit all, Courageous Capital Advisors taps a range of financial tools and instruments to combine different types of capital to achieve impact objectives that will move us closer to impact investing’s North Star. From investment strategy to capital raising, ensuring that impact objectives remain foundational to each executed mandate, Courageous Capital Advisors is your reliable, experienced partner.

Investment Strategy

What is your operational vision of impact investing’s North Star?

What issues most animate you?

How do you want to align your values with your mission and your capital?

  • Whether an investor considering impact investments or an entrepreneur or executive seeking impact capital, we understand the disciplined, iterative process required to develop not only a clear statement of intent but a plan to express that intent through action. A strategy cannot advance an objective without a realistic plan for implementation.
  • At Courageous Capital Advisors, we challenge ourselves to invest the time necessary to support our clients and partners to tease out with confidence, clarity and discipline the multiple dimensions underpinning their strategy and then to convert that strategy into an actionable game plan.

Investment Strategy in Action

Laurie has led the team developing a new portfolio approach for an asset owner to put her money to work – across asset classes – knowing the answer to the core question: what problem is my money solving for?

With an initial focus on Sub- Saharan Africa, the 17Africa approach enables the investor to understand the depth and breadth of impact she is having with each investment and across her entire portfolio.

The approach further allows the investor to continually adjust and adapt choices based on her satisfaction with the overall contribution of her money towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while satisfying her needs for financial return and liquidity. With funding provided to Palladium Impact Capital from the DfID Impact Programme, Shell Foundation and Omidyar Network, the collective business know-how produced by 17Africa forms an open source blueprint for a new intermediary designed to advise the growing universe of asset owners concerned about the social and environmental impact of their investment capital.
Transaction Design & Structuring

What is the capital to be invested solving for?

What positive social, environmental, development change do we expect to see as a result?

How will we know if the capital is achieving the intended result, the positive impact?

What are the right terms and conditions of the capital to be able to achieve the intended result?

  • Without a rigorous answer to these questions – what we call the problem / solution inquiry - it is simply not possible to structure an investment transaction that will meet intended impact objectives. Particularly where multiple investors participate in the same transaction, making the impact objectives of a deal explicit is path critical to success. The terms, conditions and pricing of invested capital all derive from the answer to the central inquiry.
  • At Courageous Capital Advisors, we take pride in embracing the core problem / solution inquiry throughout the lifecycle of an investment transaction - from origination to structuring to investor outreach to negotiation of terms and conditions to legal documentation to performance reporting and assessment. Learning by doing, we commit ourselves to translate learnings into strategy revisions, transaction structures and more action.

Transaction Design & Structuring in Action

The Collaborative for Frontier Finance (CFF) is developing the SGB COVID-19 Capital Bridge Facility, applying an integrated approach to provide liquidity to local capital providers (LCPs) operating in Sub-Saharan Africa and their portfolio of small and growing businesses (SGBs), with a gender priority.

The primary purpose is to prevent a liquidity crisis from becoming a solvency crisis by providing fast, efficient, risk-tolerant and affordable financing. Pre-COVID-19 SGBs already experienced a staggering global emerging markets funding gap due to perceived misalignment of risk/return and relative transaction costs.

Of the total $930bn funding gap, $330bn relates to Africa alone. COVID-19 has exacerbated the funding gap, particularly for women. Laurie is a senior member of the core team designing a responsive debt investment vehicle to address this critical gap – as a matter of urgency.
Impact Performance Management

How can we determine whether the intended impact we seek to achieve has occurred?

What are the proxy indicators of progress?

Is it possible to course correct if we are not seeing the results we anticipated?

  • Impact performance has been at once a rallying cry and a noisy fog of excuses within the impact investing industry, almost from inception. On the one hand, we recognize the imperative of being able to demonstrate claims of positive impact; at the same time, we have negotiated against ourselves, continuously raising the bar and forgetting that ALL investments have impact. Until we make impact performance a central undertaking of all investment activity, we will struggle to mobilize the quantum of capital needed to reach the North Star.
  • At Courageous Capital Advisors, we focus on managing impact from the outset. In every pursuit, we can only measure what we are committed to managing. Management should be linked to the problem / solution inquiry at the core of the investment activity. Tapping existing frameworks and approaches we bring efficiency to managing what matters in putting capital to work for positive impact; it is better to measure 5 indicators reliably than scrambling to claim 55 metrics in terms of advancing our understanding of what impact is really happening on the ground and for whom.

Impact Performance Management in Action

The principals at Courageous Capital Advisors have lived the challenge of impact performance for more than a decade.

As intermediaries, we are familiar with the dependence on others to provide data about impact events. We have lived through the ups and downs of the impact investing industry’s development of proprietary measurement systems, taxonomies and policies.

The Impact Management Project has introduced much-needed coherence to foster consistent impact scrutiny across actors and asset classes; in addition, several industry standards and tools are gaining traction. As CEO of Enclude Ltd, Laurie published the firm’s first Impact Report, experiencing both the challenges of working with third-party sources of information and the satisfaction of pushing for specificity of results. In one of the first multi-investor transactions for BRAC’s microfinance operations in Africa, she also led the team that designed impact reporting for the BRAC Africa Loan Fund. These early experiences continue to shape Courageous Capital Advisors’ practical approach to impact performance management.
Facilitation & Speaking

What is the utility of private and public events on the trending topic of impact investing?

The calendar (virtual and in-person) is crowded with summits, conferences and discussions about impact investing; what makes an event valuable – for the organizers and the participants?

  • As impact investing becomes mainstream there are more people wanting to engage in discussion. We welcome the expanding interest in the topic. At the same time, driving to enhanced understanding, practical insights are key to converting this widening of interest into concrete action.
  • Courageous Capital Advisors’ founder, Laurie, is a frequent speaker and facilitator. People seek out Laurie not only for her substantive views on specific topics but also for her approach that is often described as ‘energetic engagement’. She displays the art of the question with thought and sensitivity, driving towards deeper understanding. Always seeking examples, she shines a spotlight on actions over words. Audience members leave Laurie’s sessions with at least one concrete action they can take in pursuit of impact.

Facilitation & Speaking in Action

In 2017, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) hosted its Annual Meeting in Jordan. For the first time, the EBRD invited a discussion of impact investing to be part of the formal agenda. They turned to Laurie to organize and lead the panel discussion.

Following the success of this session, Laurie has led numerous roundtable and panel discussions on behalf of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) with institutional investors.

These sessions have sharpened mutual expectations of DFIs and commercial institutional investors, stimulating co-investment and innovative transaction structures that may narrow the capital gap that must be addressed if we are to address the UN’s Global Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals.