Many women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in West Africa fall into the “missing middle.” They are too large for funding from microfinance institutions and too small and risky for banks and other sources of traditional finance. WIC Capital, a $20 million investment fund managed by the Women’s Investment Club Senegal, seeks to exclusively target women-led, early-stage businesses in West Africa. USAID INVEST interviewed Evelyne Dioh Simpa, Managing Director at WIC Capital, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of gender lens investing, and how donors and development agencies can better support first-time, women-led funds.

Photo by WIC Capital

By Carolanne Chanik, INVEST Communications Coordinator

Photo by Mukesh Sharma on Unsplash

By Lauren Yang, USAID INVEST Communications

Many USAID Bureaus and Missions grapple with how to engage the private sector in their work with public goods. Where can the private sector be engaged? What investments are viable? What investors may be interested? In the latest installment of the “FINsights: Mobilizing Investment for Development” webinar series, USAID India shared insights into how the Mission, with support from INVEST, assessed opportunities in WASH and Education with two private sector implementing partners: Unitus Capital and Boston Consulting Group. …

Virginia Schippers, Principal at CARE Enterprises discusses the unique partnership behind the CARE-SheTrades Impact Fund, the opportunities and barriers facing women in South and Southeast Asia, and how USAID INVEST is supporting CARE in its work to address the root causes of gender discrimination.

By Carolanne Chanik, INVEST Communications Coordinator

Consider your clothing. Where was it made? And by whom? The average consumer who has glanced at his or her tags is likely aware that, apart from China, a large percentage of the world’s clothing comes from South and Southeast Asia — countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia…

Alexa Blain is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Deetken Impact, an investment fund manager with a focus on social and environmental impact, operating across Latin America and the Caribbean. With support from USAID INVEST, Deetken Impact will expand its support to portfolio companies under the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund and de-risk opportunities for investors.

By Carolanne Chanik, INVEST Communications Coordinator

The Aymara are an indigenous people in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America. Although conquered by both the Incan and Spanish empires in the 15th and 16th centuries, the culture has continued for hundreds of years…

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm working across the public and private sector to provide solutions to lingering business and societal challenges. Garima Batra, a Partner at BCG, works with the firm’s social impact practice. In partnership with USAID India and USAID INVEST, Batra and her team conducted an assessment of India’s early childhood education and foundational learning outcomes. Through this effort INVEST examined how private sector engagement can offer opportunities for improvement and new pools of capital for public goods and services.

By Carolanne Chanik, INVEST Communications Coordinator

Students’ foundational learning skills, the ability…

Many patients in Tanzania rely on faith-based hospitals, but those hospitals are facing a funding crunch. USAID is working to help these hospitals diversify their revenue streams and make they changes they need to make to be able to access commercial financing. This blended finance approach is creating the right conditions for these hospitals to deliver on their mission to provide patient services to Tanzanians, especially the poor.

Waiting outside Tosamaganga Hospital in the Iringa district of Tanzania. Credit: Medici con l’Africa Cuamm

By Desmond Dodd, INVEST Communications

When Tanzania’s government recently began reducing funding, medical supplies, and staff available to faith-based hospitals, Peter Maduki quickly understood the stakes involved for his members.

“Some of…

Many USAID Missions grapple with the question of how to engage the private sector in its work with public service sectors. Working with USAID INVEST, USAID India has been assessing the private-sector landscape to determine which types of engagement can lead to sustainable improvements in the delivery of WASH and education services.

To learn more about USAID India’s work with private sector engagement and public-sector services, please join the INVEST webinar, Putting the Private Sector to Work for Public Services, on May 19, 2021 at 9:30 EST. Register here.

Bangalore, India. (Photo: Nikhita S, Unsplash)

By Emily Langhorne, INVEST Communications Specialist

When it comes to achieving…

By using a lean, hybrid co-creation to solicit proposals and identify activities that increase women’s economic empowerment, INVEST enabled USAID to deploy funding at a speed that matches the urgent needs of women globally.

Mapping the ecosystem of challenges and opportunities for women’s economic empowerment during a co-creation workshop hosted by USAID’s Gender Equity and Women’s Empowerment Hub and INVEST

By Emily Langhorne, INVEST Communications Specialist

When women have access to employment opportunities, economies grow. In the past 50 years, increased educational attainment for women accounts for nearly 50 percent of the economic growth in OECD countries, and achieving parity in labor force participation rates between men and women in these countries could boost global GDP by more than 12 percent over the next 20 years.

Venture capital is a powerful engine for economic growth, but too often women and Black entrepreneurs cannot access the capital they need to grow their businesses and create jobs. USAID’s Southern Africa Regional Mission, through USAID INVEST, is working with the SA SME Fund to change that. With a mandate to invest more than half of its capital into Black-owned businesses, SA SME Fund aims to create jobs in a more equitable way.

Attendees of the SA SME Fund 2019 CEO Circle Entrepreneurs event. (Photo: SA SME Fund)

By Yasmine Williams, INVEST Senior Communications Advisor

South Africa is home to millions of small and medium-sized enterprises. …

Unitus Capital is a boutique investment and advisory firm that helps businesses scale and positively impact society and the environment. In this interview, Richa Natarajan, a Director at Unitus Capital, discusses India’s WASH sector, the importance of collaboration, and the human impact Unitus Capital seeks to achieve through its work with USAID INVEST.

By Carolanne Chanik, INVEST Communications Coordinator

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015 as part of an urgent call to end longstanding poverty and inequities. The collection of 17 audacious and interlinked global goals, meant to “achieve a better and more sustainable future for…


INVEST, a USAID initiative, mobilizes private investment for development goals. It drives inclusive growth and sustainable development in emerging markets.

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