Catalyzing finance to SMEs – the greatest generators of jobs, incomes, and economic impact – since 2004

We work with financial institutions to sustainably finance underserved enterprises, with a focus on women entrepreneurs and schools

CapPlus equips financial institutions in emerging economies to expand and deliver finance profitably for social impact.

We strengthen markets through a range of strategic and operational capacity building services to financial institutions in key areas, focused on long term growth and profitability.

We are an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit originally founded by the USA’s first community development bank, ShoreBank. Today we work with financial institutions, investees of impact investment partners like the ShoreCap funds, and industry stakeholders worldwide.

We have a track record of innovating and mainstreaming development finance solutions. We launched the first membership network for financial institutions dedicated to financing SMEs in emerging economies. We tested and scaled this concept to over 60 institutional members, then merged it into the G-20’s SME Finance Forum, managed by IFC.

Now we’re also focused on education. Our Education Markets Impact Initiative (EMII) uses finance as a tool to drive improved outcomes for millions of children. Grounded in country-specific research and our expertise in development finance, this new initiative unlocks the education finance market while increasing education access and quality.

Services

We thank our past and current funders, partners, and financial institution clients for their support and for the impact we’ve made together.

Our Team Board Members

Global Expertise

The CapPlus team works hand-in-hand with our clients and partners to overcome challenges for the shared purpose of increasing finance to SMEs.

Lynn Pikholz

Lynn Pikholz

President & CEO

Ms. Pikholz, founder and CEO of CapPlus, is an emerging economy small business finance expert and specialist in market-based poverty reduction strategies. Lynn brings over 25 years’ experience in micro and SME finance, including a focus on women entrepreneurs and the intersection of affordable education and SME finance. Currently, Lynn is leading CapPlus’ launch of EMII (Education Markets Impact Initiative) to use finance as a driver of cost effective and sustainable improvements in learning outcomes, transforming the affordable education finance market. Ms. Pikholz has developed and led trainings, published papers, and recently directed extensive research on low fee schools in sub-Saharan Africa. CapPlus’ Small Business Banking Network, comprising SME-focused financial institution members from emerging economies, was established under her leadership before merging into the G20’s SME Finance Forum. Ms. Pikholz’s earlier experience and publications includes MSME finance, impact investing, financing of affordable education and low-income housing.

lynn@capplus.org

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Susy Cheston

Susy Cheston

Senior Advisor

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Dr. Peter Colenso

Dr. Peter Colenso

Director, Education Outcomes

Dr. Colenso is an international education expert with field experience in Africa, Asia and Europe. He was Executive Director (Education) at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and Head of Education at DFID. His track record includes the World Bank, UNICEF, Government of Australia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, LEGO Foundation, Sesame Workshop, Ark, and the Global Schools Forum. He has a history of building innovative partnerships with governments, multilaterals, civil society and the private sector.

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Rula Dababneh

Rula Dababneh

Vice President

Ms. Dababneh is an international development specialist, practitioner and program manager with over 20 years of professional experience in MSME finance, banking, private sector development, economic growth, and programmatic and financial management. During her years as a Regional Director at CGAP and a Senior Financial Services Advisor at Development Innovations Group (DIG), Ms. Dababneh managed capacity building programs to financial institutions, including microfinance institutions, in North, East, and South Africa, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, and Central and Southeast Asia. She has extensive technical experience in leading public and private sector financial and economic development programs, with comprehensive management skills in all aspects of operations, including strategic planning and budgeting.

rdababneh@capplus.org

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Ellen Har

Ellen Har

Senior Manager

Ms. Har manages capacity building relationships with microfinance institutions, NBFIs, and banks. She is also responsible for CapPlus’s grant funding, and has managed the publication of toolkits focused on performance management, human capital, and benchmarks for small business banking. Prior to joining CapPlus Ms. Har worked as an organizer and teacher in South Korea’s TaLK Program where she developed her expertise as a program manager and project manager.

ehar@capplus.org

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Peter Hinton

Peter Hinton

Senior Banker

Mr. Hinton has over 25 years of commercial experience including 22 years on boards in emerging markets, private equity, banking, development and increasing access to finance for SMEs in Africa. He has extensive experience in developing and strengthening governance at FIs, with experience in strategy and business development. He is now applying his experience to developing a sectoral approach to increasing finance to affordable private primary schools in Africa and South Asia. Peter is an associate fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford teaching on the MBA and Impact Investment programmes. He is a director of Bean There Coffee Company, S Africa, the UK charity Send A Cow supporting rural livelihoods in Africa and the Hugh Pilkington Charitable Trust a UK educational charity operating in Africa.

phinton@capplus.org

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Gerry Monteiro

Gerry Monteiro

Senior Advisor

Mr. Monteiro is a technology-oriented banker with over 40 years of experience and strong strategic, business and credit expertise with well-developed negotiation and management skills. He has led or advised start-up and turn-around projects in an array of banks and non-bank financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA region and South Asia. He is skilled in diagnostics, marketing and business development; corporate, SME, microfinance and consumer lending; risk and compliance management; e-commerce; business consultancy and project management and conceptualizing and building infrastructure systems.

gmonteiro@capplus.org

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Lynn Railsback

Lynn Railsback

Vice President

Ms. Railsback has more than 25 years’ experience in development finance, many of them at ShoreBank Corporation where she led implementation of major strategic initiatives, including strategies to serve new customer segments as well as marketing, IT and human resources strategies. At CapPlus, she coordinates CapPlus’ low-fee private school market research and manages thought leadership and corporate communications, as well as leads the performance and impact measurement initiatives.

lrailsback@capplus.org

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Geoff Renk

Geoff Renk

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Renk is a licensed CPA with over 25 years of experience, including more than 15 years as controller at a bank holding company. He has expertise in accounting, finance, regulatory reporting, income taxes, reporting systems, and risk management, and has participated in microfinance technical assistance projects in Bangladesh and Uganda. Mr. Renk has worked in national and international accounting firms, and provided accounting and consulting services to a broad range of clients, including financial institutions, real estate firms, and nonprofit organizations.

grenk@capplus.org

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David Sheffieck

David Sheffieck

Manager

Mr. Sheffieck manages CapPlus’ performance measurement, in-person and web-based peer learning and internal and external communications initiatives including CapPlus’ web channels. Previously, Mr. Sheffieck led CapPlus’ member outreach for the Small Business Banking Network of over 60 leading SME banks and MFIs in Africa, Asia and MENA regions. In addition, he is CapPlus’ in-house IT support, creative designer, and leads other special projects.

dsheffieck@capplus.org

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Alkis Theodhori

Alkis Theodhori

Manager, Capacity Building

Ms. Theodhori plays a key role in the capacity building business, working closely on management of all capacity building projects and pipeline projects. She also supports in the development and writing of grant proposals and reports, as well as other projects such as CapPlus’s peer learning events. Prior to CapPlus, Ms. Theodhori supported the formulation, management, and implementation of all youth employment project activities for the International Labour Organization in the West Bank and worked with entrepreneurs at Alpha Bank, a commercial bank in Albania.

atheodhori@capplus.org

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Laura Christman

Laura Christman

Operations Associate

Ms. Christman has over a decade of experience in the education and publishing fields. She has taught at NGOs, elementary schools, and university extension programs, leading workshops and serving on advisory boards. In addition to being a small business owner, her experience includes meeting planning, HR, web development, accounting and administration.

lchristman@capplus.org

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Meet Our Board and Advisors

CapPlus has a highly committed, experienced and diverse board, both in skills and geographically.

Eric Friedenwald-Fishman

Eric Friedenwald-Fishman

Board Chair

Eric Friedenwald-Fishman (Board Chair) is the creative director / founder of Metropolitan Group. Since Metropolitan Group’s founding in 1989, Eric has served as the key strategist and campaign counsel on hundreds of international, national, and regional projects, and he has developed extensive relationships with nonprofit, corporate, public sector, and philanthropic decision makers. Eric has worked extensively on economic development, development finance, social enterprise, poverty alleviation, food security, public health, human rights and education access and equity campaigns and programs. His clients have included Ford Foundation, World Agroforestry Centre, NASA, USDA Forest Service, IFC and numerous NGOs. He has served as creative director of initiatives in Latin America, Africa, SE Asia and North America. He has led resource development campaigns that have raised over nearly $2 billion in philanthropic and public sector investment for social impact initiatives. Eric is the author of Marketing That Matters (published by Berrett-Koehler in five languages) and is the principle author of the Public Will Building model, a social change engagement approach used internationally to advance systemic changes.

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Karim Ahamed

Karim Ahamed

Director

Karim Ahamed is a Partner and Investment Advisor in the Chicago office of HPM Partners LLC, a leading registered investment advisory firm. Prior to joining HPM Partners, he was a managing director with J.P. Morgan Private Banking, Chicago. Karim has spent a considerable portion of his career in the UK, where he held senior investment and wealth management positions with Coutts & Co and UBS AG. Karim received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary and his Master of Management degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is a CFA charter holder and member of the CFA Institute, the CFA Society of Chicago and the UK Society of Investment Professionals.

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Cyrille Arnould

Cyrille Arnould

Director

Cyrille Arnould is Head of the GEEREF Front Office team. Advised by the European Investment Bank Group, GEEREF is an innovative Fund-of-Funds catalyzing private sector capital into clean energy projects in developing countries and economies in transition. Previously, he was a Senior Officer at EIB’s Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Department, where he oversaw the development of private equity and microfinance portfolios. Prior to joining the EIB in 2003, Mr. Arnould was a Senior Investment Officer at the International Finance Corporation’s SME Department, which he joined after four years with IFC’s Financial Markets Group, Sub-Saharan Africa Department. He was previously IFC’s Senior Investment Officer based in Russia. Before joining IFC, Mr. Arnould worked in Russia for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, first as Investment Manager for Smolensk Regional Venture Fund and then as Principal Banker in Moscow. Mr. Arnould holds a Diploma from the Political Science Institute and a Master’s in Law, both from the University of Strasbourg, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Nicholas Burnett

Nicholas Burnett

Director

Nicholas Burnett is now an independent consultant, a Senior Fellow at Results for Development (R4D), a Founding Partner at Oxford Philanthropic, chairs the Board of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning, serves on the Boards of Educate! and Americans for UNESCO, on the NORRAG Consultative Committee, and on the Advisory Boards of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and of the Global Business School Network, and is a Special Professor of International Education at Nottingham University. He was previously Managing Director at R4D (where he founded the Global Education Practice), UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, and World Bank Human Development Manager for West and Central Africa. He was educated in economics at Oxford (BA), Harvard (Henry Fellow) and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (MA, PhD).

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Jennifer Hoffmann

Jennifer Hoffmann

Director

Jennifer Hoffmann is an independent digital finance consultant with RiskFrontier Consultants Ltd after a career in management in various innovative financial institutions, which included CEO of TEBA Bank and of MTN Mobile Money in South Africa. Her consulting work focuses on technology for accessible banking, including branchless banking and mobile banking, business strategy, regulatory issues, and the establishment, growth and transformation of microfinance institutions. Her objective is to bring the strategic approach and methodologies of user centered design to the institutional capacity and product and delivery channel design. She has worked with the IFC, Finmark Trust (South Africa), CGAP, and a broad range of financial institutions in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

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Matthew Nell

Matthew Nell

Director

Matthew Nell is the Founder & Director of Shisaka Development Management Services in South Africa. He chairs the board of Arrowhead Properties, a Real Estate Investment Trust, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. He has over thirty years of experience in development finance inclusive of urban and housing development and microfinance. Mr. Nell oversaw the establishment of key housing finance and micro-credit institutions and public funding interventions. Mr. Nell has also been responsible for the overall management and direction of the National Housing Forum, which was responsible for negotiating the new National Housing Policy and assisting South Africa’s new democratically elected government. Through Shisaka, Mr. Nell’s consultancy work has provided advisory services to the state, the private sector and the non-governmental sectors.

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Natasha K Quist

Natasha K Quist

Board Alumni & Advisor

Natasha K. Quist has over 25 years of international private and NGO management experience. Currently, she is the Senior Advisor for West and Central Africa for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation based in Abuja.
Prior to joining the Gates Foundation she was the West and Central Africa Regional Director for Save the Children International, based in Senegal and covering 11 countries (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea). She was highly successful in scaling the World Wildlife Fund Program in Africa, as its Regional Director where she was responsible for 28 field offices staffed by over 300 people. Ms. Quist began her career on Wall Street, where she worked for various firms, including Salomon Brothers. She later worked for Walt Disney Company, and Nike Inc, where she focused on strategy, business planning, and new business development. Ms. Quist holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BSc from Leeds University.

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Extended Team

With decades of deep, cross-cutting experience in the SME Finance space, we deliver high-impact results targeted to clients' key priorities.

Main Office Address

CapitalPlus Exchange
8001 Lincoln Avenue Suite 201
Skokie, IL 60077 USA

Services