Gender Lens Investing Overview
Gender Lens Investing (GLI) is a strategy or approach to investing that takes into consideration gender-based factors across the investment process to advance gender equality and better inform investment decisions.
Amma Gyampo, is the Founder of of B2B Entrepreneurship Development firm, ScaleUp Africa, which designs and implements cutting edge programmatic solutions. A UK-Ghana Board Advisor and Consultant, Amma advises C-Level and Board Executives of large organisations on how to better engage with SMEs, StartUp and Innovation Ecosystems in Africa for Sustainable Development. She sat down with Diana Gichaga, Managing Partner of Private Equity Support to discuss the role of ‘non-financial services’ in Gender Lens Investing (GLI).
DG: Why is Gender Lens investing (GLI) important, specifically for SMEs in Africa?
AG: Sustainable African Economies need successful women-led enterprises so we need to be intentional about the gender funding gap and how we can build the capacity of more Black, African women as qualified investors and investees.
DG: There are several initiatives targeting women led/owned businesses yet the funding deployed still lags behind. What can we do to increase the amount of funding deployed to women owned or led businesses?
AG: We need more funding partners to fund first time, female fund managers with a gender lens focus. Only then will we see more women investing in qualified business ventures that are women-led and diverse.
We believe strongly that ‘non-financial support’ – the mentoring, the professional business services, the strategic partnerships, governance and soft skills – are in fact the most critical part of what we do and where we add the most value to investors.
We encourage more Limited Partners to embrace this fact and know that in supporting more Business Development Service organisations, we are likely to see superior profits as well as social impact from their investments.
DG: What are some of the positive changes you have witnessed in how women led or owned businesses are funded?
AG: We have seen more attention on the Sustainable Development Goals, around Gender Equality. As such, we’ve seen a rise in the number of women-focused funding and support initiatives, as well as Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Non-Financial elements into some of these initiatives.
DG: Parting remarks on this
AG: African Economies need to leverage the full contribution of women to GDP. Strategic participation and financial support from a robust gender-lens investing ecosystem that can create women-led funds, female fund managers and ventures that can scale and create jobs. Roughly 2% of VC funding goes to Black women. This is not just an African problem. It’s a global one we all need to address.