Knowledge Gate – Consulting Services and 0% Interest Loan (possibly in the future) 

Outside of the Knowledge Gate with Demmelash - smaller


What do they do?

Knowledge Gate provides textbooks, books, and office/school supplies to the community at very low rates compared to other book stores.



The company wants to start publishing textbooks for schools around Ethiopia so that students can have additional high-quality resources for affordable prices.


What are we doing to help them?

  • Free consulting – Website, accounting system, inventory management, market research for newly published books


Why are we investing in them?

They are clearly benefiting the community by selling educational materials at low prices so more students can afford books.  We also want our investments to be self-sustaining and Knowledge Gate is making a profit so they will not require additional cash in the future.


 Knowledge Gate at university book fair - smallerKnowledge Gate books - smaller



Investment Criteria

We will be strict when deciding where to allocate our resources. The following would be our mandatory criterion for an investment:checklistzanafund

  • A clear social benefit to the community
  • Ability to grow
  • High likelihood to break-even financially in the next 2 years
  • The social enterprise is likely to benefit substantially from our investment and/or consulting
  • We can fully understand the business model
  • A management team with expertise and strong ethics
  • A medium to high probability of receiving our investment back

The optimal investment would also have one or more of the following:

  • Scalable
  • Missing one crucial piece of the puzzle that we can provide (ie Connection with international retailers or finances for expansion)
  • Very high probability of receiving our investment back


Hypothetical Investment

An example would be a hypothetical social enterprise that is currently selling eye glasses at extremely low prices to people in three rural villages. The enterprise is not breaking even due to the costs of each pair of glasses being higher than the price they are sold at.glasses Seeing this business, we would plan to expand the enterprise so more people can have glasses and move the enterprise into profitability so it is sustainable in the long term. In this case, Zana Fund would provide a 0% loan to the company so the enterprise could buy a larger inventory of glasses and hire more salespeople. With more glasses being purchased, the enterprise could get bulk pricing and lower its costs. Then, with the new salespeople, they could move into 10 more villages. Our business consultants could find more ways to lower costs, such as finding a lower cost wholesaler of glasses. We could also investigate the expansion locations for the enterprise so they don’t have to waste valuable resources. Zana Fund may also suggest that the enterprise sell some glasses at a higher price in a nearby city, since urban dwellers typically have more income than rural dwellers. This extra profit from the city could subsidize the glasses in the poorer villages. Through leadership workshops we could provide tactics for the enterprise’s management to get more out of their employees and create a more efficient distribution process. In the end, the social enterprise would be providing glasses to 4 times as many impoverished people and they would be sustainable in the long term because of the positive cash flow. Then, over the next 1-5 years, the social enterprise can pay back the loan to Zana Fund with 0% interest. There are many social enterprises working hard in poor areas that cannot expand or even sustain themselves due to the lack of capital and business expertise.


How to Find Investments?

One of the methods we would use to find opportunities is local business plan competitions. Applicants would submit business plans for new or existing social enterprises. Zana Fund would then review the business plans to find the enterprises that would create the most sustainable social change for our investment and consulting time.

Another method will be constant networking and collaboration with other investment funds also focusing on social business.  We can share ideas and together make more of a difference than we could apart.

When and Where?

We are located in

#209-1008 17 Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta T2T 0A6

Phone: (403) 800-6608