Credit: Sinapis
ANDE Gender Equality Initiative
ANDE's Gender Equality Initiative

About ANDE’s Gender Equality Initiative (AGEI)

In 2019, ANDE announced an exciting partnership with USAID’s Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) Fund and the Visa Foundation to launch the ANDE Gender Equality Initiative, which aims to support women as leaders, employees, and consumers in the emerging market SGB sector. The initiative works to strengthen intermediaries that provide support to women entrepreneurs to fund more companies, build their capacity, connect them with appropriate sources of capital, and help them scale. Other priorities include advancing women as key decision-makers—fund managers, board members, mentors, and employees—in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. AGEI has three key work streams including: Ideating through Gender Equality Action Labs; Locally Led Chapter Programming; and Innovative Re-Granting Facilities.


Utilizing an inclusive participatory design approach, ANDE partnered with the MIT D-Lab to co-design a Gender Equality Action Lab curriculum focused on building the capacity of SGB support organizations to collectively advance SDG 5 targets. After conducting a comprehensive literature review and assembling regional Advisory Committees to map key challenges, each ANDE chapter launched a Gender Equality Action Lab to ideate and prototype solutions to systemic gender inequities in the SGB sector. These Action Labs convened regularly in 2021, concluding with a funding challenge to scale promising solutions.

With funding support from USAID, ANDE is providing one-year grants of $48,000-$100,000 to eleven Action Lab projects to implement these ideas. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) will also provide additional support for the winning project in Southeast Asia. 


As a global network of organizations, ANDE consists of eight regional chapters that support the programming of members to encourage collaboration and a continuous cycle of learning. This methodology manifests with AGEI by building out a base of knowledge and an actionable agenda. Activities have included chapter research, events, webinars, and member services that engage members and key sector players around the gender equality issue area.


Action Lab Outputs

Following the conclusion of the Gender Equality Action Lab work streams, eleven organizations piloted solutions identified to address systemic gender equality constraints which women experience as entrepreneurs, entrepreneur support providers, consumers, and employees.  These outputs are built on a participatory design methodology to fully understand and address the ecosystem barriers that women engaging with SGBs face and range in intended impact across the entrepreneurial support pipeline.

Advancing Women's Empowerment Fund (AWEF)

ANDE’s Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund aims to identify the most impactful strategies to put investment capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs in emerging markets. ANDE has sought proposals to pilot, test, and expand scalable solutions that tackle the financing gap amongst women-led SGBs aimed to identify the best strategies to get investment capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs in South and Southeast Asia and across Sub-Saharan Africa. These funds specifically looked to create learnings and insights for uptake by the broader SGB sector. 

Capacity Building

While the emerging market small and growing business (SGB) sector has made considerable gains in advancing gender equality, achieving systemic and sustainable change is not feasible without mass prioritization of gender considerations by SGBs and the investors that support them. For investors, the process of leaping from why to how can pose roadblocks. Under this Capacity Building facility, these investors buy into the business, moral, and/or legal case for embedding gender into their portfolio, but they lack the technical know-how to build or incorporate gender into their investment thesis and processes. To apply to this facility, investors must have involved a third-party capacity development provider if the investor applicant does not provide such services (e.g. targeted mentoring; training based on women’s needs assessment, etc) in-house. 

Pay for Results

Pay for Results grants will provide performance award fees to investors for predetermined gender equality achievements to increase the gender impact of their portfolios. Grants are intended to cover costs associated with developing the systems and processes necessary to take a ‘gender lens approach to investment. The grants will go directly to investors and will use a ‘pay for results’’ structure, in which the grant payment will be contingent upon completion or partial completion of achievements with a clear path to gender impact.idk

AGEI is possible thanks to support from: