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125.000 €

Settled by the promoter

Ecuadorian Cocoa Farming III

Location Pin Svg
Guayas Province, EC




6 months

a year




Working capital for family-owned company of small cocoa producers.


The goal of this campaign is to fund a family-owned company based in the coastal area of the Guayas Province (Ecuador), specializing in the aggregation, processing and sale to Europe and North America of conventional cocoa beans and semi-finished products (Liquor, Butter and Powder).

The Company was established in 1996 by a local entrepreneur and it has become one of the leading national exporting companies of Ecuador's fine aroma cocoa, as well as special semi and premium gourmet chocolates - with an industrial process "bean to bar", and names of the traceable origin of the geographical areas most representative of fine aroma cocoa-producing in Ecuador.

With its two Plants in the Guayas and Los Rios provinces, the Company has a total of 20,000MT export capacity per year. 

Given the increasing presence of multinationals as well as local competition, the company invested in operations automation, mechanization and product diversification to become more efficient and competitive. By using high-end technology machinery specially made for the cocoa sector, it duplicated the volume of production and exports; reduced labour risk; the reduced time between the preparation of lots; improved homogeneity and quality of beans; reduced the percentage of human error throughout the stages of production; controlled production costs; improved quality. In addition, the Company implemented full automation of the entire factory, allowing management of all processes from a computer, laptop, or tablet.

The Company’s mission is to export the best fine Ecuadorian cocoa beans and their derivatives to the world, promoting fair trade with small producers and traders, and integrating the whole agro productive cocoa chain with international markets assuring high-quality standards and responsibility for human resources of the company and care of the environment.

The Company sources its produce from 2,500 cocoa farmers and is focused on improving their productivity and quality controls through two Private Sponsored programs, which benefit 5,000 families, as follows:

  • A Program based on Quality, Traceability and Sustainability that offers farming communities technical assistance and training to improve productivity; advice and support for improving the quality and post-harvest; training to develop management, financial and trading capacities in communities: fairtrade practices to improve life quality in the communities. The goal is to establish a traceability system to guarantee the trace information of cocoa beans in each one of the processes, from production, postharvest handling and distribution. The Company works with a group of small-scale producer associations in this program.
  • A sustainable project to improve the productivity of small producers of cocoa and to enhance their quality of life by using such tools as technical training and delivery of agricultural inputs. The main objective of the program is to obtain a fine flavoured cocoa grain with less fat and more flavour with the sponsorship of the Government of Sucumbíos (Cocoa Region) and in coordination with the main small farmers' associations. As of today, 680 cocoa producers enrolled in this program.

Overall, Ecuador is the 2nd producer of cocoa in Latin American after Brazil, and for many years, it has been recognized as the largest fine or flavoured cacao producer in the world.

There are two general categories of cocoa beans in the world: “fine or flavour” and “bulk or ordinary”. Fine cocoa production represents less than 5% per year of the world’s cocoa bean production and Ecuador is the largest producer of “fine or flavour” beans, producing over half of the world’s production – the raw material that is required in the European and American industries for fine chocolate production. Evidence from Ecuador suggests that the cocoa premium over the New York Stock Exchange price of fine or flavoured cocoa beans is 20% to 30%.

In Ecuador, approximately 360,000 hectares of cocoa are cultivated by approximately 90,000 farmers. Most of these farmers are relatively poor and operate on less than two hectares of land (according to representatives from non-governmental organizations in Ecuador). Their incomes are largely dependent on agricultural production with almost half generated by the sale of cocoa beans. 85% of cocoa production occurs in the coastal plain region of Ecuador.

The funds raised through this campaign will be used as Transactional Working Capital to provide liquidity to the Company from its procurement and processing stage, all the way through its exports. This is the tenth campaign promoted by Working Capital Associates to provide funding to this company and the sixth to provide funding to small producers from Peru and Ecuador.

The Impact

This is the third campaign aimed at providing working capital for the same company of small cocoa producers in Ecuador. This is the direct impact of these campaigns:

  • Improve the financial health of smallholder producers: through providing the organization with transactional working capital, 2.500 small Ecuadorian cocoa farmers can have the needed liquidity required for a stable production process.
  • Improve smallholder productivity: through providing technical and organic and fair-trade certifications assistance, training, education, social and health support to the farmers and their families, the Company promotes improved working conditions and access to an international export value chain to small producers, who own less than two hectares of land.

And indirect impact:

  • Reduction of rural poverty: 2.500 smallholder farmer families will receive a higher profit margin for their produce, which can be allocated to more than pure subsistence.
  • Promotion of organic and fair-trade production: part of the cocoa produced is organic and certified by a third party. The working capital enables support from the Company to the farmers seeking organic and fair-trade certifications. Also, the Company promotes sustainability initiatives that reach 5.000 families.
  • Contribution to environmental protection: the Ecuadorian focus on pruning cacao trees, aims to help farmers make the most of what they already had, so they wouldn’t need to press further into the Amazon. Among other sustainable techniques are shade-growing and multi-cropping, as well as the correct use of fertilizer and pesticides, including natural pest control and compost.  The goal is to maintain a record of the cocoa until its final delivery to the consumer, guaranteeing traceability on each of its processes from the production, postharvest handling, and cocoa distribution.

Impact Indicators

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people impacted

Sustainable Development Goals

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Financial viability

Transactional Working Capital is a short-term debt financing asset that allows the seller to receive advance/early payments and the buyers to delay their payments. In commercial sales, standard market practice for payments is between 30 to 90 days from the time when the seller issues its invoice – such payment terms usually strain the cash availability of the seller for its own procurement, while allowing the buyer to hold on to their cash for longer. Often, the seller’s working capital gap is resolved by accessing traditional bank financing, which usually requires to be over-collateralized over hard assets (i.e. factories, buildings, machinery). However, due to the elevated requirements demanded by banks as guarantees for the loans, impossible to meet for smallholders, such bank loans seldom resolve any working capital gap.

Transactional Working Capital fills this gap without the need for collateral. That, in turns, obtains the following results for both the smallholders and the aggregator:

  • Liquidity to procure raw produce: the aggregator/processor is able to grow its business by increasing the level of raw material procurement to fulfil new orders for its international buyers, without waiting for payment from existing buyers.
  • Premium Prices: the producers receive a premium price that reflects the certified and fair trade value of the cocoa, resolving the cash pressure and eliminating the need to provide discounts to the buyer, in return for early payment.
  • A higher profit margin that can be reinvested not only to pure subsistence but also in capacity building of technical agricultural skills and technologies, improving production standards, and yield investments in organic, fair trade, and quality certifications.

WCA maintains a Trade Credit Insurance Policy with a global insurance company providing worldwide trade credit insurance, surety, and collections services, with a strategic presence in 50 countries. The Project repayment will be guaranteed under such Trade Credit Insurance Policy, which effectively protects GoParity lenders from default in a credit-related event (e.g. insolvency, bankruptcy). The policy covers losses from Insolvency, Protracted Default, and Political Risk and covers up to 90% of the value of the underlying commercial transaction financed by WCA. As WCA provides up to 80% financing to any underlying commercial transaction, the policy in essence covers more than WCA’s entire financing.

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The Promoter

About WCA (Working Capital Associates) LLP

WCA is the only female-owned and led company providing direct financing to value chains of agriculture products from Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and Latin America (Latam).

WCA follows a themed responsible investment approach which “allows investors to address ESG issues by investing in specific solutions to them, such as renewable energy, waste, and water management, sustainable forestry and agriculture, health products and inclusive finance” (PRI).

The company follows two key themes:

The company also applies gender-lens to its investments, seeking to finance a significant level of female-led businesses that follow sustainable and responsibly managed standards.

WCA’s goal is to grow value chains by providing access to finance to SMEs, in the framework of three keys SDGs:

The company also applies a “No Harm” Impact Goal, when reviewing its investment opportunities and applying a negative screening to harmful/controversial products and industries.

The team is composed of ten professionals, with senior executive team members having 10+ years of experience in Emerging Markets and/or Trade Finance, and a collective experience in financing over USD1 billion in short-term debt and Emerging Markets transactions.

The team

Federica Sambiase

Founding Partner and CEO

Federica Sambiase is a senior Banking & Finance professional with 20+ years of experience in originating, advising and structuring corporate finance solutions for global clients.

Andrew Darling

Chief Structuring and Product Officer

Andrew Darling is a veteran Trade Finance specialist with over 40 years experience of providing funding to Corporates across a broad spectrum of products.

Jorge Cerna Coronado

Latam Origination and Relationship Management

Jorge Cerna is an investment banking & finance professional with 10+ years experience in origination, structuring and relationship management of local and regional clients in Latin America.

Gathuo Njoroge

SS Africa Origination and Relationship Management

Gathuo Njoroge is a finance and technology expert with over 10 years experience in product development, research, origination and operations of SME and corporates finance solutions across East African and US markets.

Ekaterina Kobzareva

Investments Manager

Ekaterina Kobzareva is experienced and highly qualified Investment professional with 6+ years in financial analysis, due diligence and deal structuring (both Buy side and Sell side) across a number of different industries.

Sara Piedrabuena

Designer and Latinamerican Coverage

Business Model

WCA is headquartered in London and registered with the FCA under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017. The company operates using a “commercial finance company” model, by raising funds (in the form of loans and/or co-investments) from international investors, which it then on-lends to borrowers in their target markets.

The company’s revenue comes from the net interest margin between interest received from the borrowers and interest paid to the lenders.

Traditionally, the funds obtained come from impact funds, credit funds, Development Finance institutions (DFIs), and private wealth seeking thematic investments, which provide the company with medium to long-term funding.

The company’s target market is comprised of 2million SMEs that are financially constrained across Africa (#1.6million) and Latam (#0.4million). Specifically, the company is focusing on Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, with a preference for food value chains.

The company has tailored its services to SMEs, these suffering from the highest levels of transactional financing requests – approximately 58% of transactional finance proposals are rejected by banks, despite the sector globally submitting 44% of all transactional finance proposals. Banks reject such a high volume of proposals for three specific reasons: very cumbersome AML/KYC requirements imposed by regulators, capital requirements such that short-term financing to lower-rated enterprises is unprofitable and constraints on banks’ capital.

WCA follows the Principles for Responsible Investments based on the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact.

In addition to this, WCA has established ESG standards related to investments in controversial sectors and products. The company believes that certain industries, countries, and/or sectors are not compatible with its principles, and therefore will refrain from financing companies that are against its sustainability values.

Active since


Fiscal country


Operating In

Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa



Number of Goparity Loans


Women Shareholders




First payment

First instalment was paid to all the investors


100% funded

520 investors successfully raised 125.000€


New target

After raising 100.000 € in less than three days, the promoter decided to increase the global investment amount of its campaign to 125.000 €. All the other offer conditions remain the same.


Open for investment

This campaign is open for investment

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