Good Friday evening, ImpactAlpha readers!
What is it about women and impact investing? I’m just back from the annual High Water Women conference in New York, which made even more clear the leadership role women are playing in transforming finance. The point was made most bluntly in the afternoon talk by Sara Brand of True Wealth Ventures titled, “Women Investors are the Solution to the World’s Problems!” (I had the pleasure of moderating a terrific panel on the intersection of impact investing and activism in a time of #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and #WeAreStillIn.) The same point comes through in this week’s roundup, nearly all of which call out women’s leadership, for all of us.
— David Bank
#Featured: The Brief’s Big Ten
1. Impact and women were center-stage at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit… The eighth annual gathering to celebrate global entrepreneurs, this time in Hyderabad, India, made clear that social impact is at the heart of global entrepreneurship, and women are the key actors. Ivanka Trump, led the U.S.’s GES delegation as the champion for the World Bank’s $1 billion Women’s Entrepreneurship Facility. Trump “made a powerful case for women entrepreneurs,” wrote investor and technology professional Gitanjali Swamy. Read on, here.
2. …And are entering management even in India’s male-dominated tea plantations. Esha Chhabra tells the story of Lassi Tamang, a rising star in the India’s tea industry. She’s the first woman factory manager at the Jungpana Tea Estate — and one of the first in all of Darjeeling. She’s part of the change in one of India’s most conservative industries, which is finally starting to give women a chance to prove themselves. Read Episode Six in our Women Rising in India series.
3. Real change for women will evolve with “the future of jobs.” Almost 40% of science, technology, engineering and math graduates are women, yet women hold only a handful of top C-suite positions in those fields. As jobs of the future change, “it is critical that we leverage the greater innovation, participation, empathy that a diverse, balanced and respectful workforce delivers to humanity,” Gitanjali Swamy writes. Additional funding would help. Here’s how men and women are tackling the issue together.
4. Unilever and Sundial have a $100 million strategy to help today’s diverse women entrepreneurs. Their New Voices Fund aims to channel more capital into businesses founded and run by women of color, who are generally shut out of the venture capital world. The fund is part of Unilever’s acquisition of Sundial, a $240 million company started by Liberian immigrants. Learn more here.
5. Latin America shows how women investors influence impact investing… Where women venture capitalists go, impact-driven investing follows, a poll by the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association reveals. Find out more.
6. …And how impact investing in Latin America is turning a brain drain into a brain gain. Nathan Lustig of Magma Partners, a Santiago, Chile-based investment firm, writes that in Latin America, supporting almost any forward-thinking, technology-based venture is a form of impact investing. “It is an act of support for a knowledge-based economy and job growth.” Read his full take here.
7. One Mexican startup is helping start that brain gain early. At infancy. Kinedu has an app to help parents plan daily activities for their babies to ensure that they develop the “right skills at the right time.” Here’s the scoop.
8. UBS’s philanthropic arm is starting at birth, with a pioneering healthcare investment. The UBS Optimus Foundation is backing the first development impact bond for maternal and infant health. The program, planned to roll out across the Indian state of Rajasthan, aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality by expanding private neonatal health and delivery services to 600,000 women. Learn more about the “Utkrisht” bond here.
9. Philanthropic institutions can face three deadly perils with three saving graces. Clara Miller, the outgoing president of the F.B. Heron Foundation, says the “outmoded business model” of U.S. foundations puts them at risk of obsolescence. “The problems we aspire to solve are, if anything, growing larger and more urgent daily,” she writes in a guest post on ImpactAlpha. “We need to up our game.” Here’s three ways they can do it.
10. Anyone can get in the impact game. A growing number of public-market offerings are allowing smaller retail investors to align their money with their values. Lena Backe, a social-impact analyst at San Francisco-based Pacific Community Ventures, has created a quick guide to navigate the minimums, fees, investments types — and impact — of leading online advisors for retail investors. For anyone thinking about their financial — and impact — goals for the New Year, give it a read.
Finally, women’s leadership in social entrepreneurship and impact investing will be on display as well this week at the 9th Sankalp Global Summit, Dec. 7–9 in Mumbai. ImpactAlpha readers get a discount with the code ALPHA20. Register here.
That’s a wrap. Have a great weekend! Please send news and comments to TheBrief@impactalpha.com.