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How Change Happens: Practical steps for investors supporting SMEs to achieve gender equity

Daniel Waldron Acumen

Gender-lens investing is widely accepted practice by many, if not most, impact investors. This allows us to now focus much more operationally on how investors can partner with their portfolio companies to build inclusive, effective organizations that enable women thrive as leaders, staff, and customers.

Building on 2022 research by the Gender Smart Enterprise Assistance Research Coalition (G-SEARCH), Acumen and Value for Women share highlights from their research on the key gender-smart business strategies that lead to tangible social and economic improvements for women, and the key factors for success that funders, investors and SMEs should consider when designing for gender equity outcomes.

We will begin with high-level remarks from Acumen, addressing why investors should care about this work, and how gender-lens investing is moving beyond representation to focus on building companies that employ, serve, and empower women.

Value for Women will then explain the work they have done both to help companies implement gender projects (for example building women’s changing facilities at an agricultural processor). They will offer a framework for selecting gender-smart TA focus areas, and drivers of success. The session will explore different stakeholders’ motivations, opportunities and challenges when engaging in gender-smart work.

The facilitators (entrepreneurs who have experienced these projects) will help the assembled audience split into groups and select a volunteer organization, which the group will then help design a sample TA project around. The facilitators will encourage the teams to incorporate some of the guidance from V4W (tracking appropriate data, setting measures of success, timelines)

Facilitators will share back a key finding from the process, and Acumen and Value for Women will close.

Track

DEI, Ownership and Impact

Format

Workshop (Up to 3 Facilitators/Instructors)

Speakers

  • NameJulia Mensink
  • TitleHead of Impact, Director
  • OrganizationAcumen
  • NameAsya Troychansky
  • TitleAssociate Director of Inclusive Business & Investment
  • OrganizationValue for Women
  • NameDenis Karema
  • TitleCEO & Co-Founder
  • OrganizationSokoFresh

Description

Gender-lens investing is widely accepted practice by many, if not most, impact investors. This allows us to now focus much more operationally on how investors can partner with their portfolio companies to build inclusive, effective organizations that enable women thrive as leaders, staff, and customers.

Building on 2022 research by the Gender Smart Enterprise Assistance Research Coalition (G-SEARCH), Acumen and Value for Women share highlights from their research on the key gender-smart business strategies that lead to tangible social and economic improvements for women, and the key factors for success that funders, investors and SMEs should consider when designing for gender equity outcomes.

We will begin with high-level remarks from Acumen, addressing why investors should care about this work, and how gender-lens investing is moving beyond representation to focus on building companies that employ, serve, and empower women.

Value for Women will then explain the work they have done both to help companies implement gender projects (for example building women’s changing facilities at an agricultural processor). They will offer a framework for selecting gender-smart TA focus areas, and drivers of success. The session will explore different stakeholders’ motivations, opportunities and challenges when engaging in gender-smart work.

The facilitators (entrepreneurs who have experienced these projects) will help the assembled audience split into groups and select a volunteer organization, which the group will then help design a sample TA project around. The facilitators will encourage the teams to incorporate some of the guidance from V4W (tracking appropriate data, setting measures of success, timelines)

Facilitators will share back a key finding from the process, and Acumen and Value for Women will close.

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