LEAD New Pathways Fund

COVID-19 is highlighting and exacerbating existing systemic inequalities and the environmental unsustainability of our current consumption and production focused economic model. The United Nations estimates COVID-19 could push an estimated half a billion people into poverty and take global development progress back three decades, primarily in emerging economies. Old systems have clearly not solved these decade long issues. Social innovation is therefore key to not only building the new, but preventing socio-economic regression on progress made over the last two decades. The middle class is vanishing in South Africa, and the concentration of capital, wealth and resources, is exasperating the divides between the rich and the poor. It’s LEAD’s belief that founders of social enterprises can “forge new, innovative and sustainable pathways for productivity, inclusivity and environmental resilience across the economic spectrum”.

To this end, LEAD is launching the New Pathways Fund, a blended financing model, that will provide capital to post-seed social enterprises seeking their first round of significant funding, focused on building new systems and solutions for a new economy. The financing gap for South African SMEs is estimated at between R86 billion and R346 billion. Investments at this stage are often smaller in size, riskier, and associated with higher transaction, and business advisory costs, resulting in an unattractive risk return profile for investors.

LEAD, in partnership with Impact Amplifier, has the expertise and innovative finance model to combine and leverage both capital and capacity to scale social innovations requiring between R1m – R5m. LEAD, via the New Pathways Fund seeks to invest earlier, with higher risk appetites than traditional institutional impact investors, and leverage off a trusted ecosystem network.


LEAD has developed a fully outsourced solution to achieve compliance with the Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) requirements of the B-BBEE Codes. The Fund is suitable for measured entities rated under the Amended Agri Sector Codes, the Generic B-BBEE Codes, the Amended FSC Codes, the Amended ICT Sector Codes, the Construction Sector Codes, the Property Sector Codes and the MAC Sector Code.
Measured entities are now able to convert their ESD contributions from an annual income statement expense/donation into a once off-balance sheet investment that delivers the following benefits:

  1. B-BBEE Compliance: Investors will receive the documentation necessary for attaining compliance with the ESD requirements of the Codes.
  2. Creation of shareholder value: Investors convert their ESD spend from an annual income statement expense (i.e. a grant or donation) to a balance sheet asset that retains value.
  3. Maximum Impact: Investors have access to an ESD solution that delivers shareholder value alongside social value, with 100% of their contribution (after fees) reaching the ESD beneficiary.
  4. Collective Approach: Investors are part of a solution where the collective is vastly more powerful than the individual parts and that 1+1 can indeed be >2.
  5. Risk Sharing: Investment risk is shared amongst multiple investors.
  6. Alignment with B-BBEE Codes: The Fund mandate is in complete alignment with spirit and transformation objectives of the B-BBEE Codes.
  7. Outsourced Solution: Fully outsourced solution frees up management to focus on core business.
  8. Regulated investment product: LEAD Impact Capital (Pty) Ltd is a registered FSP (Licence no. 50498) and 27four Life is a registered long term insurer.

Who Can Invest? – Anyone (such as a company, trust or natural person) who requires Enterprise and Supplier Development points in terms of the B-BBEE Codes.

For more information, contact

LEAD High Impact Fund

LEAD’s founder, Carron Howard brings 10 years of direct experience in the structuring and analysis of over R1.2bn in high impact unlisted debt investments. She has managed a number of high impact investment portfolios that have delivered consistent above average investment returns, and 100% capital preservation for investors.

The LEAD High Impact Fund will provide institutional capital to post seed social enterprises that have successfully serviced their first round of significant funding received from either the LEAD ESD Fund or the Lead New Pathways Fund. These innovative enterprises are focused on building new systems and solutions for a new economy.