Fostering a triple impact economy: social, environmental and financial returns at the core of businesses and investment with a gender lens
There is a growing movement in the private sector to advance business objectives and development goals simultaneously through what are known as purpose-driven or social enterprises. Investments in such enterprises generate positive, measurable, social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Part of this movement is called gender lens investing — using capital to deliver financial returns and improve the lives of women, girls, and their communities — and it is gaining momentum.
Gender lens investing could benefit countries in the Global South, but one of the key challenges is finding investment-ready and purpose-driven enterprises that embed gender considerations. Governments, NGOs, and investors are developing technical assistance programs, accelerators, and business support services to address this, but there is little knowledge or evidence on their effectiveness. Similarly, the role of public policies in scaling purpose-driven business practices is not well understood.
This project seeks to accelerate the transition to a more inclusive and sustainable economy by strengthening the ecosystem for gender lens investing and purpose-driven business growth. It will generate evidence to help build the capacity of purpose-driven entrepreneurs from select Latin American and African countries to assess the effectiveness of technical assistance and acceleration from a gender impact lens. It will inform the implementation of innovative public policies, regulations, and national strategies that could play a catalytic role in strengthening purpose-driven enterprises and embedding gender at the core of these business models. The project will also facilitate new conversations, synthesize and share evidence, and foster outreach and engagement in leading global platforms to inform policies and practices for greater impact.