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.

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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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Raphael Akomeah

Raphael Akomeah

Low-Fee Private Schools Expert

Raphael Akomeah has been working with low-cost private schools for over nine years, managing Sinapi Aba Trust’s low-cost school finance program and serving as CapPlus’ education finance consultant and IDP Foundation’s projects manager in Ghana. He implemented the IDP Rising Schools program in 18 Sinapi Aba branches, managing a loan portfolio of 398 loans totaling $1.2 million that maintained a 92% repayment rate. He also created a loan database for decision-making and reporting. Mr. Akomeah worked closely with school proprietors, delivering extensive school management training to more than 600 school entrepreneurs that covered financial management skills, business planning, operational best practices, and teacher training on child-centered instructions.

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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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Albena Godlove

Albena Godlove

Vice President, Capacity Building and Education Markets Impact Initiative

Ms. Godlove has more than 15 years’ experience in international development, managing high impact projects in over 40 countries. She applies her project management and technical expertise in leading CapPlus’ capacity building practice. Ms. Godlove’s technical expertise covers strategy (development and execution); fund and debt facilities design and management; education, health and green technology sectors; and evaluation and research methodologies. She also has hands-on experience in public and private financial advisory services, private sector engagement, and public-private partnerships. In the past, she worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited in East Africa, Cardno (formerly Deloitte Emerging Markets), the World Bank and FHI 360, and has extensive experience as an independent consultant with clients such as Enclude, Millennium Challenge Corporation, USAID, and Uganda Revenue Authority.

agodlove@capplus.org

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Peter Hinton

Peter Hinton

Senior Banker

Peter Hinton has worked with CapPlus over the past decade and is currently CapPlus’ Senior Advisor of Affordable Education. In addition to his expertise in low-fee schools, he is an investment specialist and former African fund manager with a background in private equity investment and banking, with more than more than 25 years’ emerging market experience. Previously Mr. Hinton was CEO and founder of Enterprise Banking Group, a Botswana-based regional banking group that invested in banks in Kenya and Botswana. He also worked at CDC plc, a private equity investor in emerging markets and four years as Managing Director of Africa Trading, a South African fair trade business that won awards and international recognition. He currently heads up the Summit Development Group and serves as a core part of CapPlus Education Markets Impact team.

phinton@capplus.org

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Andrew Lake

Andrew Lake

Lead, Digital Financial Services

Andrew Lake is CapPlus’ lead on digital financial services, including digital finance strategy and institutional assessments as well as design and delivery of digital finance solutions. With 20 years in emerging markets and deep experience in digital financial services, his core strengths are strategy design and execution around novel, customer-oriented digital products. He previously worked as the Principal Operations Specialist on IFC’s Global Digital Financial Services team, as well as with Risk Frontier Associates UK, MTN Group and CmO MTN Banking, and CompuServe Africa.

alake@capplus.org

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Gerry Monteiro

Gerry Monteiro

Chief Investment Officer & Senior Advisor

Gerry Monteiro has worked with CapPlus since 2006, including as Vice President Capacity Building, and now serves as investment head on CapPlus’ Education Markets Impact Initiative team. He has over 40 years’ experience as a banking executive in South Asia, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Monteiro’s experience includes setting up the Industrial Bank of Oman, an investment banking and project finance institution in the Sultanate and serving as its first CEO. He was HSBC India’s Financial Controller and Chief Operations Officer and subsequently its Deputy CEO, managing all geographical and functional business units in implementing the strategy. He has led a number of start-up and turnaround assignments within Africa and Asia based financial institutions (commercial banks and non-bank finance companies) as well as strategic re-organization of both large and small banks in emerging markets. He has extensive risk management, credit, technology, and investment experience.

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

Geoff Renk oversees CapPlus’ accounting and finance activities. He is a licensed CPA with over 30 years of accounting and finance experience, including more than 15 years in a bank senior management capacity. Mr. Renk’s areas of expertise include accounting, finance, regulatory reporting, income taxes, accounting and reporting systems, and risk management. He has worked with CapPlus since 2003, initially setting up its accounting and reporting system, and later in an oversight capacity as its chief financial officer. Earlier in his career, he 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 not-for-profit organizations. His consulting assignments included evaluation of loan portfolios, transaction due diligence, asset workouts, litigation support, and strategic planning.
grenk@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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Nthenya Mule

Nthenya Mule

Director

Nthenya Mule is a co-founder of Antara Health, which provides patient-centred care coordination and accompaniment through Kenya’s fragmented health service landscape, and ensures quality health care is provided at an affordable rate. Nthenya is also an independent consultant who engages in business and strategic advisory services for businesses and organisations in the financial services, agriculture, health and education sectors. She has professional experience in over ten sub-Saharan countries. Nthenya a director of Fusion Investment Management Services Limited. She was Head of Finance at the Avenue Group, Head of Business Development, East Africa at Chandler Corporation Healthcare Division, and Manager of Fanisi Business Advisory Services. She established Acumen Fund’s East Africa office, identifying portfolio companies and developing investment cases. She has a Masters in International Economics & International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a BA in Economics from Grinnell College.

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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

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