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Translating Gender Intentionality into Capital Inclusion and Internal Diversity

Introduction

inBEST Ventures (inBEST) is a new local-impact investment firm in the Philippines and one of the few in that country that pursues gender-lens investing (GLI), seeking to grow companies in a way that gives equal access to opportunities for women and men. inBEST was established in 2020 with a focus on investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned or led by women.

Opportunity

At the start of the company journey, the inBEST team saw strong market sentiment and a business case for GLI. Portfolio performance was good, and it was evident that many women’s SMEs were viable, scalable and impactful. In light of these strong financial indicators, the team was eager to deepen its pursuit of GLI and put its sights on inBEST becoming the largest GLI-focused firm in the Philippines.

Actions taken

  • inBEST developed an explicit, public GLI commitment and a strategy on how to unfold GLI with investees step-by-step
  • inBEST developed fundraising messages that communicate its vision, mission and the tools it uses as a GLI-investor

Results

  • inBEST’s adoption of a formal Gender-Inclusion Commitment Statement and Strategy has driven the firm’s intentionality around gender inclusion. InBEST now has a clear strategy around investing in financing SMEs owned by women
  • inBEST is committed to deploying at least 75% of its investment portfolio into women’s SMEs. Of the 15 deals inBEST closed over a period of 18 months, all but one are in women-led or -owned businesses. At the end of 2021, investees had created 1 181 jobs, of which 53% were filled by women
  • Currently 60% of inBEST’s board are women, and the men-to-women staff ratio is 1:1. Also, the firm is using a gender lens to review its hiring and other internal processes and procedures

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