Engineers Without Borders Canada Announces New Venture Fund: Hummingbird Impact

Hummingbird is raising $24M to back the most promising and impactful tech ventures across Africa. 

Toronto Canada, March 12, 2020

Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB Canada) recently held its Global xChange 2020 Conference, where it announced the launch of Hummingbird Impact.

Hummingbird Impact is a venture fund that leverages on nearly a decade of EWB Canada’s experience delivering talent and seed capital to early-stage, for-profit social ventures in Africa with a track record of 11 investments. Just like Wangari Maathai’s Hummingbird, the fund is bold in its commitment to impact through technology innovation and entrepreneurship and seeks to shift mindsets when it comes to promoting gender and ethnic diversity in African startups. 

Hummingbird is raising a $20M blended-finance impact fund to invest in scalable, tech-enabled social ventures at the pre-Seed, Seed and Series A stages. The fund will be complemented by a $4M technical assistance facility to accelerate the growth and impact performance of its portfolio. Hummingbird will operate autonomously and is supported by and affiliated with EWB Canada. 

“Thanks to the philanthropic backing of generous individuals, visionary foundations and Global Affairs Canada, EWB Canada has been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of its model in addressing the unique needs of early-stage startups in Africa. We have proven that it works, and it is now time to scale its impact ” says Boris Martin, CEO of EWB Canada. “Spinning off a business unit has precedence at EWB. We do it when it allows us to reach sustainable impact at scale. In this case, Hummingbird will allow us to catalyse both philanthropic and commercial capital towards a shared mission.”

Hummingbird views impact from a broad perspective. As a gender-lens investor, the fund will focus on bringing a holistic approach to business practices that promotes women’s economic participation, leadership and entrepreneurship. As an investor in technology innovations, the fund will contribute to the sustainable development of the continent by leapfrogging growth obstacles. By proving the financial and impact potential of investing in diverse teams, Hummingbird seeks to motivate those with more financial might (both private and public investors) to address inequality and promote empowerment by dedicating capital towards women-led and locally founded African startups. 

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to reducing global poverty. Research also shows that gender and ethnically diverse teams are positively correlated with higher impact and profitability than their peers. Hummingbird will therefore commit 100% of its proceeds towards these underserved, undervalued and undercapitalised ventures,” says Muthoni Wachira, Founding Partner for Hummingbird. “It is my personal ambition to even out the funding landscape and see more gender and ethnic representation at the investor and investee levels. It is not only our moral imperative, it is smart economics,” she concludes.

About Engineers Without Borders Canada

Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB Canada) is a registered charity that invests in people and ideas to tackle the most crucial causes of poverty and inequality. Over the past 20 years, EWB Canada has iterated an impact model for social ventures in Africa that combines seed capital, talent and mentorship. Going forward EWB Canada will continue to bring unique strength in recruiting, training and deploying talent embedded in venture teams. In Canada,  the organisation’s membership advocates to improve Canada’s effectiveness in delivering aid and innovative finance for development. EWB Canada offers Systems Change Leadership development to its members, as a foundation for personal growth and as a way to improve how technology is applied to solving social challenges locally and globally. For more information please visit: or contact:

About Hummingbird Impact

Hummingbird Impact provides early institutional capital and portfolio support to for-profit and impact-driven African tech ventures. As a gender-lens impact investor, Hummingbird’s mission is to catalyse and de-risk innovative and highly-scalable solutions to bring systemic change to an undercapitalised and biased system. Hummingbird believes that local and female founders are best positioned to unlock opportunities for women and marginalized populations in Africa. By filling this critical funding gap, Hummingbird seeks to prove the commercial viability and replicability of this capital and support model in achieving outsized financial and impact returns. For more information please visit: or contact:

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