Spotlight: Amanda Fernandez, Director, Economic Growth at Palladium

How does Palladium work in the space of agri-SME finance, and what are the priorities of the organization in this area?

Palladium is a global, international development company that designs, manages, and evaluates programmes across a broad range of capabilities and portfolios, such as impact investment, market systems and inclusive growth, information systems, green economy, education, health, supply chain management, and youth and workforce development. We have an asset management arm via our strategic partnership with Bamboo Capital, provide technical assistance to deliver capital solutions through Palladium Impact Capital, and provide strategic consulting services to private sector actors. Across these areas and activities, Palladium supports a wide range of work in agri- SME finance, from deal sourcing to transaction assistance and deal closure, fund design and management, donor, government, and private company technical assistance, guarantee design and other risk mitigation support, as well as policy solutions to improve the enabling environment to expand financing to agri- SMEs.

Amanda Fernandez, Director, Economic Growth, Palladium

Our corporate vision is to engage in agri-SME finance in ways that lead to creating positive impact, or the enduring generation of social, environmental, and economic impacts, and promoting inclusive growth principles into the core business of clients. Our priorities now are to focus our energies on designing agri-SME solutions in impactful and scalable ways to generate this positive impact and support global objectives in nature- based solutions and regenerative agriculture.

What is your role at Palladium and what was your professional journey before this?

My current position is the Executive Director/Chief of Party of CATALYZE, an 8-year, US$250M programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to mobilize significant private capital for development purposes.

CATALYZE is a portfolio of USAID projects across dozens of countries, regions, and subject areas, including social protection in Asia, women’s economic empowerment globally, market transformation in Ethiopia, education financing in Africa and Latin America, financing expansion in Peru’s Amazon, the Sahel, and Western Balkans, and SME competitiveness in Sri Lanka. Before this, I led Palladium’s work to create finance facilities for nature-based ends, I ran Palladium’s practice for finance and investment, and spent almost 20 years overseas designing, managing, and evaluating development programmes for consulting firms, USAID, international non-profits, and foundations. I found my home in Palladium after walking into one of our field project offices in Ecuador and offering my services, and the rest is history!

“I really enjoy interacting with the “best in the business” in agri-SME finance, always pushing the envelope on innovation and results.”