Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries


Organizational profile:

The mission of the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) is to support a strong private sector in developing and emerging countries, to enable them to gain access to growth and sustainable development within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. BIO provides tailor-made financial solutions to entrepreneurs, financial sector companies, and private infrastructure projects, combined with support for capacity building programs.

Every potential investment is assessed against a set of BIO Development goals in order to structure and document its development rationale. BIO’s portfolio includes investments in sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and agroforestry, certified forestry, wood and non-wood forest products processing and manufacturing, biomass energy, ecotourism, among others. 

BIO's Business Development Support Fund allows current and prospective portfolio companies to increase their business performance and improve sustainable business development practices by offering grants and by co-financing Technical Assistance (TA), Feasibility Studies (FS), and Investment Support for innovative SMEs.

The SDG Frontier Fund is a self-managed fund-of-funds that seeks to co-invest with BIO in private equity funds in Asia and Africa. Set up at the initiative of BIO in March 2020, the SDG Frontier Fund reached a total fund size of EUR 36 million, thanks to the participation of fourteen Belgian institutional and private investors, including BIO. The fund aims to support sustainable economic growth in African and Asian frontier markets and offers an attractive financial return.

Financing Instrument: Equity and quasi-equity, Long-term loans and Guarantees

Project scale:

Investment companies and Funds:

  • Focus: Private equity funds for SMEs, infrastructure and microfinance
  • Amount: € 1-15 M (€, $ or local currency)
  • Investment type: equity (BIO can take minority stakes only)

Financial Institutions:

  • Focus: Financial institutions supporting the micro and small enterprise segment 
  • Amount: €1M< (€, $ or local currency)
  • Investment types:
    • Loans, with maturity: 3-10 years (max grace: 3 years)
    • Equity: BIO can take minority stakes only


  • Focus: Existing enterprises in agribusiness, industry, services to the population (i.e. health & education), energy efficiency
  • Amount: € 1 M - 15 M
  • Investment types: 
    • Loans with maturity: 3-10 years
    • Equity


  • Focus: Infrastructure projects that provide basic services to the population and to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This includes, but is not limited to, renewable energy, telecommunications and transport & logistics.
  • Amount: €3-20 M (€, $ or local currency)
  • Investment type: Loans, with maturity: up to 15 years

BIO supports only existing companies with a solid track record of at least three years. The minimum investment is € 1 million per project. 

Through the Business Development Support Fund, the maximum amount for technical assistance projects and investment support is €350,000. For feasibility study projects, the subsidy may account for up to 50% of the total cost, with a maximum of €100,000 per client.

Recipient countries regions/country groups: 

BIO invests in Least Developed Countries, Low-Income Countries, and Lower-middle Income Countries (i.e. the OECD's DAC-list). BIO can also invest in upper middle-income countries and pays particular attention to the partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation and to less developed countries. BIO currently operates, directly and indirectly, in 52 countries:

Recipient categories: Businesses, entrepreneurs, financial sector companies

Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible sectors: All sectors, except those on the exclusion lists of the IFC (International Finance Corporation) and EDFI (European Development Finance Institutions). Preference for: agriculture and agribusiness, financial sector targeting micro, small and medium enterprises, renewable energy, basic services to the population.

Business Development Support Fund applications should meet the following number of criteria:

  • Eligible companies are current or prospective portfolio companies of BIO.
  • BIO evaluates the project’s development impact, additionality, expected outcome, coherence of the work program, skills of the expert and the budget and planning. Projects are to be implemented by external qualified consultants. Specifically for feasiblity study applications, BIO will assess the sponsor’s or promotor’s quality, experience and track record.

Application guidelines:

Any application must be accompanied by a business plan that includes:

  • A description of the business concept
  • A presentation of products, clients, competitors, suppliers and the management team
  • An investment plan and preliminary financing plan
  • Profitability forecasts (for the next 5 years of operation of the project)
  • Financial history for a minimum of three years

For applications, send an e-mail and business plan to For the Business Development Support Fund, simply contact BIO's team for the application form, fill it out and send it to The Business Development Support team will review your application and can support you in further structuring your project. For more information on the SDG Frontier Fund, please contact

Last updated: 29 August 2023

Publication Date
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
Applicable location
Rural development
Forest management certification
Climate change
Financing opportunities