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Best practices, strategies and tools to close gender gaps in investment funds

28 October 2022
Mauren esquivel

The Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) of INCAE and its partners, Value for Women and SVX MX, held the Webinar "Best practices, strategies and tools to close gender gaps in investment funds" on October 26 , taught by Cynthia Castro Villalobos, Co-founder of Boomerang Effect, a company that advises organizations on the creation of business and communication strategies with a gender focus.

According to 2021 figures from IDB Invest, in Latin America the financing gap between women's projects and those founded or led by men is at least 93,000 million dollars and 73% of small and medium-sized companies led by women do not have access to financing. In addition, in investment gaps only 7% of private equity and venture capital investment in emerging markets goes to companies led by women and only 11% of investment professionals in emerging private equity and venture markets are women.

For this event, we asked Cynthia Castro Villalobos to share her experience with us and present behavioral science findings about strategies that work and those that don't to close these gaps, and to emphasize the opportunity for investment funds from incorporate more women into their structures and prioritize their investments in projects led by women.

According to Cynthia, “unconscious biases are the main cause of investment gaps between companies led by men and women, and a common mistake is to assume that because we are conducting training on the subject, organizations will automatically be successful in designing plans of closing these gaps, since biases always intervene in organizational processes”.

Castro gave us examples of strategies that work to close gaps. Best practices go through making diagnoses and action plans, “inclusion nudges” and other norms to provoke contact with counter-stereotypes, but above all, he emphasized the importance of setting goals and measuring achievements.

From CLACDS, INCAE we will continue to share experiences and good practices on investments with a gender lens, in the same way that we are leading various initiatives to strengthen the skills of women entrepreneurs to prepare them when they are ready to attract investors, commented Gracia María Barahona.

The webinar also included the participation of Octavio Martínez, Director of CLACDS/INCAE, who was in charge of giving the welcoming remarks, and Norman Sarria, Co-founder of VFW and Expert in Gender and Business, who presented the progress of the project "Investment Community for Equality" that is executed with the financial support of ANDE in which these learning conversations are framed. The event was moderated by Gracia María Barahona, Manager of “Empresarias Progresando”, EMPRO of Honduras and director of the Ecobanking Project, both from CLACDS.

We attach the link of the webinar. 

This is the second event of reflections on investments with a gender approach, the first was held in July with the webinar "Investments with a gender lens for the progress of the region".

If you would like more information on this subject or the initiative, you can contact mauren.esquivel@incae.edu.