Improving gender equality and diversity in our investees

In 2020 Norfund updated its Gender Strategy (first developed in 2016) and one of the pillars of this strategy is working with investees. Following our membership in the 2X Collaborative it has therefore been an ambition to support those investees that want to work with gender equality and diversity and create value additionality during our ownership period. Therefore, Business Support is provided based on the specific need an investee wants to address concerning diversity and gender equality.

Ficohsa gender digitalisation project

In 2022, Norfund decided to support Ficohsa in Guatamala to further develop their offer to women clients. Ficohsa has a strong record of working on gender equality rooted in a gender strategy and has provided unconscious bias training to their management and credit officers. In addition, the bank has developed a specific loan offer for women clients, in particular women entrepreneurs. The bank identified a need to create specific digital training program for women and Norfund is supporting this initiative in 2022 and 2023. The expected outcome is that this kind of training for women entrepreneurs will increase their access to loans and support their growth.

Greenlight Planet mentorship program

Greenlight Planet (SunKing) is another investee that did a lot of work internally on gender equality before reaching out to Norfund. Based on internal assessment the company concluded that their internal gender balance did not reflect their customer base. The program that Norfund supports is to train men and women within the company to allow equal opportunities when it comes to career growth. This will allow women to grow into Area Business Manager positions and prepares Greenlight Planet for the future.

By the end of 2022, Greenlight Planet had developed the training program and will start rolling this out in 2023. This initiative is co-financed by British International Investment (BII).

 Finsocial gender project

Following Norfund’s due diligence process and before investing in Finsocial, the Norfund team identified that Finsocial is 2X eligible, but could use support in addressing gender equality more strategically through conducting a gender assessment and developing a gender strategy. This project was approved during Q4 2022 and will kick off in January 2023.

“Supporting Finsocial through the Business Support facility allowed us to encourage the financial institution to dive deeper into the intentionality of their strategy on gender equality, beyond the gender advantages that might exist within the MFI sector”

Heidi Achong, Investment Manager Financial Inclusion, Norfund