Theme
Capacity Development

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"This Guide was developed for impact and mission-driven investors (“Investors”) operating in emerging markets to provide concrete, practical pathways for investing with a gender lens. The adoption of Gender Lens Investing strategies amongst investors in emerging markets in turn increases the amount of capital deployed towards women-led and gender inclusive businesses. Specifically, this Guide offers pathways for investment professionals, limited partners (LPs) and general partners (GPs) at impact and mission-driven Venture Capital (VC) and Private Equity (PE) firms that are investing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Other actors that may also find the Guide useful are limited partners (LPs), asset managers, foundations, family offices and development finance institutions (DFI) that are providing capital to SMEs in emerging markets (Please see Figure 1: Who is this Guide for?). While the investor examples and data presented in the Guide originate from Investing in Women partners and countries of focus, the lessons learned apply broadly to investors operating in emerging markets.

There is no singular or linear path to investing with a gender lens, and there is no single ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to meet the needs and theses of all investors. With that in mind, the Guide outlines various options for investing with a gender lens. We know that gender lens investing is not an “all-or-nothing” scenario. There are multiple ways to integrate progressive practices, including ways that are not resource-intensive. This Guide outlines entry points for investors at any point in their gender lens investing journey and provides various options for decisive actions that can be taken at any stage of the investment process.

There is no single prescribed starting point. Investors can customize their approach to getting started and/or to deepen their involvement. The Guide builds on – and contributes to – a rapidly growing body of knowledge shared within the fields of gender lens investing and development, and is intended to spur action and learning. Recognizing that new resources are continually emerging, this Guide delves into the “how” of gender lens investing and is designed to complement the work of our partners and colleagues cited throughout this paper."

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"The evidence is indisputable: high-growth scaling ventures are game changers. Scale-ups are the ventures that:

Create the vast majority of new jobs in an economy;
Generate the most value in the form of financial, economic and social returns;
Drive innovation and shape ecosystems;
Incubate and develop talent pipelines; and
Spawn the next generation of thriving scale-ups and the experienced entrepreneurs that create them.

Africa needs more startups that transition to scale. Many more.

But scaling is rare. And difficult. All the more so in sub-Saharan Africa, where large populations do not equate to large addressable markets, necessitating very early (and risky) expansion into new markets in search of the critical mass of customers needed to raise funding and scale a business.

Whilst there are some universal scaling principles that can and should be applied, there isn’t a formula for scaling. Because it isn’t pure science. On the contrary, scaling is predominantly an art: a unique blend of inputs, decisions and actions that is different for each scaling business."

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"This is an interactive resource designed to equip you with the knowledge and strategies required to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs. This handbook can be applied in the context of a women-only programme or to better support women founders within a mixed gender programme. We recognise that gender is not binary and so depending on the context, you may choose to use this handbook as a guide to reflect on how to make your programme more accessible, inclusive and equitable for other genders as well."

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"The Adaptation SME Accelerator Program (ASAP) aims to enhance the availability and uptake of climate adaptation solutions by identifying, engaging and empowering SMEs providing such solutions in developing countries."

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"This report was commissioned as a product of the working partnership between Root Capital and Value for Women, with the support of the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs and the International Development Research Center. The main objective of this partnership is to build evidence around innovations for gender inclusion within small- and medium-sized agricultural enterprises globally."

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"Entrepreneurship is an essential driver of societal health and wealth. It is also a formidable engine of economic growth. It promotes the essential innovation required not only to exploit new opportunities, promote productivity, and create employment, but to also address some of society’s greatest challenges, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the economic shock wave created by the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. The promotion of entrepreneurship will be central to multiple governments worldwide for the foreseeable future, especially considering the significant negative impacts on economies due to the pandemic. Governments and other stakeholders will increasingly need hard, robust and credible data to make key decisions that stimulate sustainable forms of entrepreneurship and promote healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems worldwide. During its 22 years of existence, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) has repeatedly contributed to such efforts. For example, in this report, GEM is — as it has after other crises — providing policymakers with valuable insights on how to best foster entrepreneurship to propel growth and prosperity once again."

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"The year 2020 has been incredibly challenging for the global community. The spread of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has led to an unparalleled health crisis in countries across the world. The crisis has had unprecedented and serious impacts on all aspects of how people communicate, work, produce, trade, consume and live. The economic ramifications of the pandemic quickly became apparent, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have been on the front lines. With workers and customers staying indoors, and supply chains tested by shutdowns, the small companies that provide 70% of jobs in countries around the world and about half of economic activity have been put under stress."

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"O estudo aproxima o conceito usado pela ANDE de “Pequenas Empresas em Crescimento” ou “Small and Growing Businesses” dos conceitos praticados aqui no Brasil pelo BNDES, IBGE, Receita Federal e Sebrae no setor de empreendedorismo. Além disso, apresenta exemplos de SGBs alinhadas às áreas foco da ANDE, bem como de organizações de apoio ao empreendedorismo no Norte e Nordeste e com foco em periferias, para ilustrar o rico universo deste campo empresarial em regiões onde a ANDE tem interesse específico."

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"Why do more small firms in developing countries not use the market for professional business services like accounting, marketing, and human resource specialists? Two key reasons maybe that firms lack information about the availability of these services, and that they struggle to distinguish the quality of good versus bad providers. A brand recognition exercise finds that most small firms are unaware of most providers in this market, and a survey of service providers reveals that they largely rely on word-of-mouth and informal reputation mechanisms for acquiring customers. This study set up a business services marketplace that contains information about the different providers present in the market and used mystery shopper visits to develop a quality ratings system. A randomized experiment with more than 1,000 firms provided access to this marketplace to the treatment group and randomized whether firms received just information or also quality ratings. The provision of quality ratings information shifts small firms’ preferences over which provider they would like to use, increasing the average quality rating of their preferred providers by 0.2 to 0.4 ratings points out of 5. However, neither the provision of information nor these quality ratings had any significant impact on the likelihood that small firms go on to hire a business service provider over the subsequent six months. The results suggest that alleviating information frictions alone is insufficient to increase usage of professional business services."

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"Many small firms lack the finance and marketing skills needed for firm growth. The standard approach in many business support programs is to attempt to train the entrepreneur to develop these skills, through classroom-based training or personalized consulting. However, rather than requiring the entrepreneur to be a jack-of-all-trades, an alternative is to move beyond the boundary of the entrepreneur and link firms to these skills in a marketplace through insourcing workers with functional expertise or outsourcing tasks to professional specialists. A randomized experiment in Nigeria tests the relative effectiveness of these four different approaches to improving business practices. Insourcing and outsourcing both dominate business training; and do at least as well as business consulting at one-half of the cost. Moving beyond the entrepreneurial boundary enables firms to use higher quality digital marketing practices, innovate more, and achieve greater sales and profits growth over a two-year horizon."

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