Press Releases

Press release: From USD 3 million to USD 3 billion: The miraculous multiplication of start-up financing from the public sector

Development investments are return-oriented investments in private companies with inclusive business models. They focus on sectors such as energy, agriculture and financial services and aim to generate development impacts combined with attractive returns for investors.

The sharing of roles between the public and private sectors has proved an effective approach when mobilizing assets for investment in development-related companies and opening up new markets for investment: The state assumes a pioneering role by supplying start-up capital and the private sector subsequently multiplies that capital. 

The new publication ‘Development investments: a response to global challenges‘ describes how the Swiss asset manager responsAbility Investments AG has been able to successfully build the development investments business since 2003 thanks to start-up financing from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO): The first responsAbility investment solution, which was launched in the form of a public-private partnership in 2004, is today the world’s largest investment fund in the area of micro and SME financing and is 100% privately funded. responsAbility has since developed investment solutions in the energy and agricultural sectors based on a similar model. 

Ivo Germann, Head of Operations, Economic Cooperation and Development, at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), explained: “In 2003, we saw the potential to support the creation of a new investment category that would enrich the existing range of investments and promote economic development in our target countries. SECO found an appropriate and capable partner in the form of responsAbility. We are now watching with interest as responsAbility focuses attention on the areas of agriculture and renewable energies as the next step in this process.” 

Rochus Mommartz, CEO of responsAbility Investments AG, explained: “We give investors access to around 100 emerging local markets where we invest directly in companies with sustainable business models and growth potential. The new publication examines the interface between the investment market and development support over the last 15 years and shows why returns and impact go hand in hand.” 

‘Development investments: a response to global challenges‘ is available in English and German and can be downloaded at:


responsAbility Investments AG
Ulli Janett, Media Relations
+41 44 403 06 33


Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Lorenz Jakob, Enquiries on Economic Development Cooperation
+41 58 468 60 56


About SECO
SECO is the Swiss Confederation’s centre of expertise for all core economic policy issues, including economic cooperation and development. Its mandate is to enable sustainable and inclusive growth in its partner countries. “Inclusive” means that all segments of the population prosper from such growth, and “sustainable” means that it does not compromise the well-being of future generations.

SECO helps partner countries to create more and better jobs. It enables governments to set up effective institutions and deliver efficient public services. It helps them develop sustainable trade and a stronger competitive stance on international markets, and it encourages climate-smart business practices. SECO works to make partner countries more resilient. This places them in a stronger position to withstand economic and financial shocks and the impacts of climate change. And, in giving people better prospects at home, SECO also tackles one of the root causes of migration flows.

SECO engages at a bilateral and multilateral level with many different partner organisations. Here, it can tap into the specialist knowledge in economic and trade policy within SECO and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER).


About responsAbility Investments AG (
responsAbility Investments AG is one of the world’s leading asset managers in the field of development investments and offers professionally managed investment solutions to both private and institutional investors. The company supplies debt and equity financing to non-listed firms in emerging economies and developing countries.

responsAbility currently has USD 3.2 billion of assets under management invested in over 550 companies in 96 countries. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Zurich and has local offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Lima, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo and Paris. Its shareholders include a number of reputable institutions in the Swiss financial market and its own employees. responsAbility is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.