Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) began in 1989 as the CARE Small Business Assistance Corporation (CARESBAC), a single member NGO owned by CARE, the international relief and development organization. At the time of CARESBAC’s launch, the international developmental community had begun to recognize the growing importance of the private sector in achieving economic growth, both in developing countries and in the transition countries following the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the case of many transition countries, large corporations were state-owned and required privatization, resulting in large-scale unemployment. A healthy SME sector was considered vital to both provide for the needs of consumers, as well as to generate a robust boost in employment.
In 1995, CARESBAC spun out of CARE to become the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF). Incorporated as a New York not-for-profit with a specific mission to engage in investment activity in emerging markets and manage for-profit investment vehicles that target businesses operating in underserved communities, SEAF grew rapidly following our inception. In 2005, we expanded the SEAF family by creating the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED). CEED centers provide essential business development training and peer-to-peer learning to entrepreneurs in emerging markets to help them grow their businesses profitably and sustainably.
As of December 31, 2014, SEAF has made approximately 400 risk capital investments through 35 investment vehicles across 25 countries, with a total of $387 million in assets under management.