IIX’s Equity @ Scale: Building Capacity in Gender Lens Investing and Measurement Across the Impact Investing Ecosystem
The hypothesis is that there is a unique opportunity to systematically incentivise all ecosystem players (including enterprises, investors, foundations, banks, financial service partners, lawyers, corporate partners, mentors, etc.) to graduate up the gender lens investing ladder from gender awareness to gender-transformative approaches. The ultimate goal is to shift the gendered power dynamics in favor of women entrepreneurs and gender equality by increasing their knowledge of gender lens investing.
IIX is testing this assumption through four activities funded by Frontier Brokers:
- Supporting enterprise growth through the Future 500 Fellowship Program that provides access to a suite of services including technical assistance, capital raise, mentorship, new market entry (valued at over US$100,000).
- Developing a network of leaders and mentors under the Future 500 Network for global business leaders who are stepping up to embrace sustainable innovation and women’s empowerment
- Providing access to capital and investments with the Impact Partners platform that is the largest crowdfunding platform for impact investing connecting enterprises with +1,200 accredited impact investors with a total AUM of +$12B.
- Building market access and corporate partnerships that enable enterprises to gain broader market access to scale their impact.
Through these activities, IIX aims to
- Connect impact enterprises to a pool of mentors to establish relationships that are mutually empowering;
- Reduce the time cost of the investment capital raise process through underwriting risk, increasing competition among investors, and expanding specialist support networks; and
- Connect more mature IEs to negotiate supply contracts with corporate partners in the value chain.
A fundamental element of this work is the introduction to and building capacity in gender lens investing, which is woven into each activity, providing online training on the fundamentals of measuring impact with a gender lens and various impact measurement and gender lens analysis methodologies. Impact enterprises are being trained to self-report impact metrics, including gender-aware metrics. When paired effectively with financial documents in discussions with potential investors, the impact assessment enables investors to incorporate gender lens investing in their investment approach. This provides them with the risk-return-impact profile of the investment, thus embedding gender into the evaluation of their portfolio. IIX is also partnering with Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management and regional partners as gender trainers. These gender trainers educate mentors on the acute gap in access that women have to mentors’ networks and the need to consciously shift the power dynamic in mentoring relationships by seeking to learn from mentees’ insights, life experiences, and talents. Finally, IIX works with investors to incorporate gender lens investing in their investment approach.
To date, IIX has trained 536 stakeholders in gender lens investing and impact assessment
- 123 corporate partners
- 83% corporate partners reported increased knowledge/ skills in gender lens investing.
- 20 investors
- 85% of investors reported an increase in awareness in gender lens investing
- 82% investors reported an ability to apply gender lens investing into their investment approach
- 113 mentors
- 92% of mentors reported a high or very high increase in knowledge/ skills in investment readiness and gender lens impact assessment
- 50% of specialists trained reported high or very high increase in knowledge/ skills in investment readiness and gender lens impact assessment
- 280 social enterprises
- 85% of social enterprises reported a high or very high increase in knowledge/ skills
- 71% of social enterprises reported a high or very high ability to apply knowledge of investment readiness and gender lens impact assessment to their work