Press Release: Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer Receive $1.3 Million From USAID to Advance Gender Equality and Promote Gender Smart Practices in SMEs in Latin America
Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer receive US$1.3 million from USAID to augment the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund through three main components—incremental capital, technical assistance, and knowledge dissemination and advocacy.
Impact asset manager Deetken Impact and mission-driven social enterprise Pro Mujer today announce a partnership with USAID to advance women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer, joint venture partners in the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund (the Ilu Fund), are creating a program to advance gender equality in the Latin America and Caribbean region through three main components—incremental capital, technical assistance, and knowledge dissemination and advocacy.
Additional funding towards women’s empowerment
Deetken Impact will use blended finance capital to expand the Ilu Fund by US$5 million, which will be channeled into new and existing portfolio companies that are weathering current economic shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for recovery.
To date, the Ilu Fund has committed over US$28 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 13 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on women’s financial inclusion.
“Thanks to this initiative, we are launching a new blended finance product that will allow investors to support the fund with added protection from pandemic and post-pandemic risks,” said Jose Lamyin, Managing Partner at Deetken Impact.
Gender smart technical assistance
Through a tailored acceleration and engagement program, the Ilu Fund team will assist companies in strengthening their gender smart business practices to improve their business performance, attract more capital from Gender Lens Investing (GLI) and non-GLI investors, and advance gender equality and opportunities for women in the communities where they operate.
“Ilu Fund portfolio companies have shown strong receptivity to new approaches that embed gender considerations into their broader business strategy. We are now in a position to incubate and accelerate these initiatives to support gender leadership in our portfolio and in the region more broadly,” commented Alexa Blain, Managing Partner of Deetken Impact.
The customized program will focus on areas of opportunity relevant to the pandemic and post-pandemic context, and it will align with one or more of the Ilu Fund’s gender lenses, which include:
- Women in ownership, leadership, and governance;
- Products and services that improve the lives of women and girls, diversity of products, and equity in product marketing & design;
- Workplace equity in staffing, management, retention, career progression, and workplace environment; and
- Gender-informed information systems including gender disaggregated data and analysis.
Knowledge dissemination and advocacy to expand the GLI ecosystem
The Ilu Fund team will support the broader GLI ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean through knowledge dissemination and advocacy and by building the business case for gender lens investing and gender-smart business practices in the region. This effort will include the development of an open source toolkit, regional workshops, events, case studies, and investor education.
“This initiative plays a significant role in establishing the field of gender lens investing in Latin America. Data has consistently shown that gender diversity leads to economic prosperity, more productive companies, higher revenues, and increased market value. Most importantly, gender lens investing fosters gender equality, which results in access to education, healthcare, and decent job opportunities for girls and women,” shared Maria Cavalcanti, President and CEO of Pro Mujer.
Photo courtesy of Afif Kusuma.