April 20, 2020, Atlanta – The International Trade Centre (‘ITC’), CARE Enterprises Inc. (‘CARE’) and Bamboo Capital Partners (‘Bamboo’) have joined forces in their mission to achieve gender equality with the CARE-SheTrades Impact Fund (‘the Fund’).
The Fund was launched in June 2018 by Bamboo and CARE to drive progress towards gender justice in South and Southeast Asia. The ITC, a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, has now joined the Fund. The ITC will leverage its extensive SheTrades network connecting export-ready women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses to markets around the world, to identify pipeline companies for investments.
The timing is right as the Fund is focused on not only reducing the significant effects of the current health and economic crisis on women and their families, but also in helping these businesses rebound and grow as new models with equal pay, management representation and high performance that lead to sustainable growth. It is a critical time to invest in the private sector and to provide growth capital to women-centered businesses as governments and public health systems focus on combatting the pandemic.
CARE’s regional gender business experts and ITC’s market and trade experts will apply a gender-equality lens across the entire investment cycle, integrating gender and business analyses throughout the screening, due diligence, deal structuring, and portfolio management processes. Bamboo, the pioneering impact investing firm, brings its fund management and investment expertise to the Fund.
In addition to considering the growth trajectory and profitability of investee companies, the Fund will prioritize investments in companies that employ women workers, companies whose products or services are designed to serve low-income women, as well as companies working with women-owned businesses as suppliers. Priority target countries for investment include Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The CARE-SheTrades fund has also joined other funds around the world as part of the SDG500, a groundbreaking impact investment platform and an example of how government and private philanthropy can join forces to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We are witnessing remarkable acts of solidarity at the local and national level, in the midst of the health and economic crisis created by the spread of COVID19,” said Katherine Milligan, Head of Gender and Diversity of Bamboo Capital Partners. “What is most urgently needed is global solidarity. Providing growth capital and capacity building to impactful businesses employing and serving women and vulnerable groups is essential to cushion the worst impacts of the economic crisis and stay on course to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Vanessa Erogbogbo, Chief of Sustainable and Inclusive Value Chains at ITC, said: “During this time of crisis, ITC’s focus on SMEs and track record of supporting women entrepreneurs puts us in a unique place to help mitigate job loss and bolster income security for those most affected, such as women. We must step up our efforts now, this is why we are pleased to join forces on the CARE-SheTrades Impact Fund”.
Meanwhile, the social innovation leader Ayesha Khanna has joined CARE Enterprises Inc as Managing Director. Ayesha brings significant cross-sector experience in the social impact and business sectors to CARE and the CARE-SheTrades Impact Fund. She has deep expertise in launching and scaling for-profit and non-profit ventures with a career focused on innovation, strategy, impact investing, and new business development.
Ayesha was the founder of the Civic Accelerator with a portfolio of 245 social enterprises, most recently joined the Acumen Fund, and served over a decade as the President of Civic Innovation with Points of Light, the largest global organization dedicated to citizen action. She began her career building healthcare centers in Northern India, led several non-profit and grassroots organizations, and spent eight years in the strategy consulting practice of Andersen Consulting LLP (now Accenture).
“I am thrilled to join CARE to raise the CARE-SheTrades Impact Fund, in partnership with Bamboo Capital Partners and ITC SheTrades,” said Ayesha Khanna, Managing Director of CARE Enterprises Inc. “It is a unique opportunity to combine what each partner does best to showcase the role that growth capital in gender equal businesses can and must play as a critical strategy to help alleviate global poverty. Despite rapid economic growth in this region, women in South and Southeast Asia lag behind their male counterparts across all forms of progress. Growth of these businesses directly ties to the economic prosperity of women, which is the impact we are aiming to achieve.”
Kalei Talwar, Press Officer