For fifteen years Interrupcion Fair Trade has developed equitable, organic supply chains that give small-scale farmers in South America, Central America and the US access to reliable international markets for their produce. Today Beneficial Returns, a new impact investing debt fund, extended a $500,000 equipment loan to the company so they can expand their work with famers in South America.
Social entepreneurs Diego Gonzalez Carvajal and Rafael Goldberg launched Interrupcion while undergrads at NYU nearly fifteen years ago. Initially the business imported candles and jams from Argentina but quickly evolved into a fresh produce company linking South American farmers with major US grocery store chains such as Kroger and Trader Joe’s. The company aims to improve incomes and working conditions for farmers, restore soil fertility, and expand the scope of organic agriculture, all while delivering quality produce at affordable prices. Today Interrupcion’s supply chain includes over 9,000 farmers working in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico and the US.
Beneficial Return’s loan was used to support Interrupcion’s blueberry operations in Chile. With the loan proceeds, Interrupcion outfitted a new cooling and packing facility and also acquired a semi-trailer truck. These investments will reduce spoilage and increase produce quality leading to more income for Interrupcion and its 1,900 small-scale farmers who grow organic and biodynamic blueberries in Chile. According to Carvajal, “We have big ambitions at Interrupcion. Like many social enterprises our biggest obstacle to more growth and more impact is capital."
Interrupcion’s story neatly captures Beneficial Returns’ focus on supporting established social enterprises that work to reduce poverty through sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, waste repurposing or livelihood development. Beneficial Returns provides equipment loans of $75,000 to $500,000 exclusively to borrowers who operate in emerging markets.
Beneficial Returns’ investors are family foundations and Donor Advised Funds that aim to simultaneously earn a financial and impact return on their undeployed philanthropic capital. They share the conviction that poverty can best be tackled with market-based solutions and that debt is usually the most effective way to support these efforts.
Current Beneficial Returns investors include Swift Foundation, Skees Family Foundation, Younger Foundation and Tides Foundation. RSF Social Finance provided a partial guaranty support the loan to Interrupcion. Beneficial Returns is actively seeking new investors who want to use the power of finance to improve the world and new borrowers who need debt capital to expand the scale and scope of their work.