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June 30, 2022

Flo Schepers is a trainee at StartGreen. She has a great affinity with Africa, female entrepreneurs and sustainability, so this traineeship fits like a glove. Especially now that StartGreen is setting up a fund with Evenpar for renewable energy projects in Africa.

Trainee program
'During this two-year trainee programme, I – just like my two fellow trainees Xavier and Michiel – get to know at least four of the six StartGreen funds. Every six months we go to a different fund. In this way we learn about different ways of financing and about the different focus areas of the funds.

Double impact
After my master's degree in Entrepreneurship, I really wanted to do something that makes an impact. I think you can make the biggest impact by putting money where it's needed. That's how I came to impact investing. As far as I know, StartGreen is the only venture capital company that has a trainee program, and with so many different funds. I can find out here which place suits me best. Moreover, the focus here is on impact: not only financially, but certainly also socially.

Broadly educated
As a trainee I do analyst work and I learn everything about the profession as I go along. We are trained very broadly and learn about the different ways of investing in the three main themes of StartGreen: renewable energy, circular economy and diversity. All funds have their own main focus. So Energiefonds Overijssel focuses mainly on the energy transition and Borski Fund on tech innovations and female entrepreneurs. An additional advantage: as rotating analysts, we ensure that the knowledge of one fund is shared even better with the other funds.

Happy coincidence
The first six months I worked for Energiefonds Overijssel and for Evenpar, which will finance renewable energy infrastructure projects in emerging markets with StartGreen. Because I grew up in Kenya and studied in South Africa, I have a great affinity with Africa. When I started here, StartGreen had just started the Evenpar fund, so that's a very lucky coincidence for me. It fits my interests exactly; I believe there are many investment opportunities in Africa that can make a lot of difference. There are many start-ups in Kenya and especially in Nairobi. That region is also known as the Silicon Savannah .

Fighting prejudice
During my studies I set up my own company in Kenya with Kenyan women. Through the platform Haberdashery story I design products, together with Kenyan talent, that match the Dutch market. The site also features stories from the makers, so visitors can see just how much talent, creativity and entrepreneurship there is in Kenya. Through Trade Not Aid we want to stimulate the local economy. In addition, I am a photographer. My pictures of Africa show how much happiness and beautiful nature there is. By giving my vision of Africa, I want to combat certain prejudices about this continent and inspire people.

Different phases
Evenpar is now fundraising. As an analyst for Evenpar I spent quite a bit of time filling the data room and writing the investment memorandum. I also searched my network in Kenya for investors and projects looking for an investment. I also have a promotional video and the website to paint a good picture for the investors.

Since 1 May I have been working four days for Borski Fund and one day for Evenpar. I really enjoy staying involved with Evenpar. A lot is happening at Borski right now. That is in a completely different phase: Evenpar is starting, while Borski has been at it for a few years. Very nice to see those differences. Borski also has a completely different focus. This fund is aimed at female companies and mainly invests in femtech, healthtech, fintech and recently also in deathtech: we are investing in a platform that as a service closes and deletes all accounts of a deceased person.

From intake to closing
At Borski I am involved in all steps in the investment process: from intake to closing. When a company complies with the Borski criteria, we invite them for an initial meeting. Then I do a quick scan: do we want to continue with this company? If so, I will do an in-depth analysis. I look at the market, the product or service and the finances. If the investment proposal is approved, we will draw up a term sheet . In it we describe the form of financing and under which agreements we will invest. After that, the due diligence investigation will take place, I have not yet been involved in that.

Nice suprice
Now that the first period is over, I can say that analyst work is broader and more diverse than I imagined. I also have more responsibility and participation than expected, which I really like. If you have a specific interest, you can look for companies in that area. I find it a very nice surprise that there is room for that. I also find it very interesting to be involved in the entire process. This allows you to really build a relationship with entrepreneurs.

Continuous growth
I am in good contact with my fellow trainees Xavier and Michiel. In addition, all three of us have a sponsor, with whom we have objective and assessment interviews. Our sponsor is also a kind of confidant that we can turn to within the company. It's great that this person guides you through the entire traineeship. In the beginning I also had a buddy, who ensured a soft landing.

Where I will go next is not yet decided. Ultimately, I want to become an investment manager at one of the funds. StartGreen is such a diverse company, one doesn't stop learning here and can continue to grow in many different ways.'

 

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