This summer, financial inclusion non-profit Kiva announced a partnership under the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative with USAID to advance women’s economic empowerment by increasing access to financing for women entrepreneurs and business owners. W-GDP is the first whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment and, as a part of the Initiative, Kiva will use catalytic capital offered through the W-GDP Fund at USAID to design the Kiva Invest in Women Fund (K-IWF), an innovative investing vehicle to positively impact women.
KIVA TO SCALE GENDER-FOCUSED IMPACT INVESTING
Kiva has been awarded $2.5 million from the W-GDP Fund at USAID in an effort to identify innovative approaches to catalyze commercial investment for women’s economic empowerment and equality. The contract will support an 18-month process that will engage major asset owners and gender lens investing experts in developing K-IWF, which aims to provide $100 million in critical capital for women entrepreneurs.
K-IWF will continue Kiva’s work of institutional impact investing through its Kiva Capital arm, a wholly-owned asset management subsidiary offering impact-first investment vehicles that aim to fill gaps in capital access for underserved communities in the current investment ecosystem.
“This partnership with the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative at USAID recognizes Kiva Capital’s potential to deliver a truly innovative fund to the gender lens investment community,” said Sarah Marchal Murray, Kiva’s Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer. “We are excited to collaborate with and learn from this community of sophisticated global investors. Together, we can expand the pipeline of capital to economically empower women.”
Since its founding in 2005, Kiva has deployed $1.4 billion through the Kiva.org marketplace. More than 80 percent of these loans, totaling $1 billion, has gone to nearly 3 million women around the world.
“We know that investing in women’s economic empowerment can boost country-level GDP and is vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, but critical funding gaps were thwarting progress even before the COVID-19 crisis,” said Goldie Chow, Kiva’s Director of Impact. “Scaling investment in women entrepreneurs is not only the next step in building pathways to prosperity for women but also crucial for country-level recovery and resilience.”
THE DESIGN, STRUCTURING, AND FIELD-BUILDING ELEMENTS
The Kiva Capital team will use this innovative funding to launch a comprehensive fund design and structuring process. This will include the development of an impact framework and a shared learnings platform. Funding will also support the canvassing of the women’s economic empowerment investment markets in Africa and Latin America to identify missing elements of investment capital to most effectively support women-led enterprises. In addition, via a global investor listening tour, Kiva will showcase new opportunities in the rapidly growing world of investing in women for both the social and financial returns.
“What’s most exciting about this relationship is the opportunity to discover what the right kind of capital is for empowering women around the world,” said Marchal Murray. “It’s not about more women entering the formal financial system, but rather a financial system that works for more women.”
Established in 2005 as the world’s first personal micro-lending website, Kiva’s mission is to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive.
About the W-GDP Initiative:
In February 2019, the White House established the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, the first whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results.