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Gender Lens Investing

Half of the world’s population is female, and when women are financially stable, their communities directly benefit from that. Research shows that women in emerging markets invest 90 cents of each extra dollar they earn in their families and immediate environments. This translates into better schooling, healthcare, and overall lifestyle, and eventually economic growth.

To reach our mission of providing affordable financing for entrepreneurs in emerging markets, Lendahand applies a gender lens investing strategy. The focus on female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses allows crowd-investors to help accelerate Sustainable Development Goal #5 for Gender Equality. 

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"We make every payment via bank transfer to build credit history and prove our credibility to the bank for future loans," says Mexican entrepreneur Digna.


With the credit she receives as a member of a female group loan from Sofipa, Digna has been able to grow her business. She will soon be able to apply for an individual business loan.

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MFI Sofipa in Mexico

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In 2021, Lendahand received a 3-year grant from USAID to develop inclusive technology further to reach more female entrepreneurs.

Our goal: Mobilize $ 120 million in direct and indirect investments to SMEs. At least $ 7.2 million of those investments will reach women-led SMEs (W-SMEs) in emerging markets in 2024.

Achievements so far: “We’ve managed to direct more than 10 million euros towards approximately 10,000 W-SMEs in the past year, funded by more than 5,000 female investors as well as men.


We can see that our focus on financing female entrepreneurs in developing countries has paid off since receiving the USAID grant. We were able to do so by, among other things, developing new impact and credit scoring frameworks, working with new impact investing partners for screening and onboarding of W-SMEs, a new partnership for financial and impact monitoring, and increasing our operational efficiency. 


Our biggest challenge to increasing this number further is scaling our investments capacity to look at even smaller loans, and getting all of them funded on time.”


Adriaan Schiphorst - Senior Data Officer at Lendahand and USAID project manager

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MFI U&I in Kenya

Teresia runs a grain and seed store in Nairobi, Kenya, where she sells rice, beans, peas, chickpeas, and sorghum... which she buys directly from farmers.

Four years ago, Teresia realized that many people struggled to access raw seeds and cereals since no shop provided them in her neighborhood. Confident about her business plan, she started her now thriving business. With the support of U&I Microfinance Bank, she was able to grow and reach more customers, allowing her to increase her income and better her living conditions.

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MFI Bailyk in Kyrgyzstan

In the middle of the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Aida and her husband run a small animal and crop farm. Due to drought, they struggled to have enough food to feed their animals. Aida tells us how they managed to turn the tide with a microloan from Bailyk.


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