Scalable enterprises

Growing sustainable scalable enterprises drives industrialization, economic growth and job creation. 

Renewable Energy

Financial Inclusion

Scalable Enterprises

Green Infrastructure

Why invest in scalable enterprises?

A country’s development and growth depend on successful businesses. Scalable and large enterprises play a particularly important role, being engines for growth and job creation. On average they are more productive, make stronger contributions to professionalizing supply chains, recruit more staff, pay higher wages, and generate more government revenues.

There are few large companies in Sub Saharan Africa, especially in the poorest countries. Hence, we focus on identifying and investing in businesses that have the potential to scale. We also want to reach businesses in the SME and start-up segment, and we do that through fund investments.

Our ambitions

In our strategy 2023-2026, our defined ambitions for agriculture & manufacturing are:

  • 3 billion NOK additional revenues generated
  • 10,000 new direct jobs created

And our defined ambitions for funds are:

  • 16 billion NOK additional revenues generated
  • 70,000 new direct jobs created

Agribusiness and manufacturing

Our direct investments are focused on opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. We seek to partner with strong industrial or financial partners.

Norfund invests directly in scalable enterprises in the following segments:

  • Agribusinesses
  • Manufacturing


The agribusiness sector is vital for economic growth and job creation in Africa. More than half of Sub Saharan Africa’s population works in agriculture, yet Africa does not produce enough food to feed the continent. Norfund’s investments in the agribusiness value chain drive productivity, create jobs, link smallholder farmers to markets and increase production.


Africa today has a small manufacturing industry. Few countries have successfully developed without a strong manufacturing base. In Africa, one third of food, beverages, and similar processed goods are imported, but a large share of these products could be manufactured locally. Manufacturing in Africa therefore has tremendous potential as an enabler of economic growth and job creation.

Flower production on Kenya and Ethiopia.

Fund investments

Through fund investments, Norfund reaches more companies and other business areas than we could on our own. Investing in private equity funds contributes to building and developing local businesses as well as contributing to more professional and efficient business practices.

Local fund managers provides entrepreneurs with access to risk capital and create value through active ownership, efficiency initiatives, industrial insight and local knowledge to support the company’s development.

Private Equity Funds

Our strategy is to invest in funds in which our participation will have a significant developmental effect. We do this through investing in a broad spectrum of funds. On the larger end, we invest in larger, often pan-regional funds that themselves invest in relatively large companies. Several studies have shown that large companies often are more efficient than smaller ones. Moreover, there are relatively few large companies in many of Norfund’s prioritized countries. Hence, helping these larger companies getting access to capital may lead to more professional and efficient businesses.

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Funds

Historically Norfund has focused on small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) in its fund investments. This continues to be an important area. This business segment often faces a particularly challenging funding environment. These businesses are often owned and run by persons with roots in the local communities, and an investment in these companies may have a direct effect for people we want to reach.

Impact/Venture Funds

Thirdly, Norfund also invests in very challenging business environments. Several countries don’t have developed markets for funding neither through banks nor through equity markets. In such situations Norfund may support the establishment of new pri­vate equity funds, such as the Kinyeti Fund in South Sudan. One may also invest in established funds that addresses the special challenges in such markets. These initiatives may be time consuming, but if successful also proves very valuable to the local communities with an undisputed development effect.

EthioChicken hatchery in Ethiopia, Hatch Africa.

What we offer

Norfund is an active minority investor. We offer risk capital through equity, loans and funds to companies that meet our requirements.

To maximise commercial and developmental success, Norfund strives to be a value adding owner beyond the capital investment. Norfund’s investment teams have extensive experience in project development and in governance, and we work closely with partners to develop companies. Norfund takes a position as a responsible owner and requires a board seat in equity investments.

With more than 25 years’ experience of investing in developing countries, Norfund continuously builds and develops the expertise needed to invest and manage risks in order to succeed as an investor.


Norfund invests with or via partners to benefit from their knowledge and expertise. We prefer to partner with large, well-known and respected companies with a local presence and a long-term horizon, whose interests align with those of Norfund.

Head of Scalable Enterprises department

Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen

Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen

Executive Vice President, Green Infrastructure and Scalable Enterprises