Amidst the call for what we must do to address global challenges such as climate change, gender inequality, and poverty, earlier this month in Mérida, México hundreds of people gathered to connect and share about what they are doing, exploring how impact investing can be a tool to tackle those global issues.
ALIVE had the opportunity to participate in and lead some of those dynamic spaces at this year’s Latin American Investment Forum (or FLII, as it is known by its Spanish acronym). Our Managing Partners, Virgilio Barco and Santiago Alvarez, attended the event and participated in workshops and discussions, contributing ALIVE’s perspective gleaned from the past five years of impact and gender work.
Here is a snapshot of their experience.
Measuring Impact: From Myth to Reality
At ALIVE, we believe that pertinent, timely, and thorough impact measurement is critical for investors, investees and of course beneficiaries themselves.
FLII organizers invited ALIVE to co-lead a workshop on impact measurement alongside Louis Tran Van Lieu, of impact measurement firm, 60 Decibels and Salua Garcia, co-founder of ALIVE portfolio company, Symplifica. In the initial discussion at the workshop, the three shared a bit more about how we have collaborated to measure impact. For example, ALIVE hired 60 Decibels to conduct three impact measurement studies over the course of each investment in its first fund. To date, we have initiated or completed all of the baseline studies of portfolio companies, including one with Symplifica, a company that helps domestic workers in the region gain access to formal job contracts complete with social security and other benefits.
Participants were given an extract of Symplifica’s 60 Decibels report – produced after collecting and analyzing Symplifica’s impact data – and tasked with discussing in groups the value of those impact data from a specific stakeholder perspective: Investors, Social Entrepreneurs, Impact Professionals. Here is ALIVE’s Virgilio Barco on this stakeholder-centric approach to impact measurement:
“In our impact work we emphasize the importance of generating shared value from our impact data. In other words, not measuring for the sake of measuring, but also to glean valuable insights for all of our key stakeholders. This includes our portfolio companies and their beneficiaries and engaging in knowledge sharing with our investors and with the broader impact investing ecosystem.” While there will of course be challenges to overcome, with any impact measurement process we can truly maximize the “return” on our time and resources by ensuring that impact data is not only contributing to improving beneficiary lives and company performance, but also ecosystem building at every level.
Real Talk: The True Stories Behind Funding Women in Latin America
At ALIVE, we apply a gender lens at every stage of our investment processes, from origination to post-investment management.
As part of the FLII agenda, ALIVE’s Managing Partner, Santiago Alvarez, participated in a discussion with other gender-smart impact investing practitioners to share how we approach our gender work and to learn from other leaders in the space.
The conversation touched on a variety of topics related to gender inclusion in the impact investing sector. Participants explored how VC funds can better support female entrepreneurs and, given that just 5% of impact investing funds globally are led by women, how asset managers can better support female-led funds.
Participants also explored how we might work to overcome challenges faced by women entrepreneurs/investors and what resources and tools are needed to support both groups.
During the conversation, Santiago specifically shared how ALIVE’s approach is not focused on screening out investments if they are not owned or managed by women. Instead, ALIVE emphasizes the importance of taking a more inclusive approach, working with any company that is committed to understanding gender gaps and biases and developing and implementing strategies to bridge such gaps.
Santiago also emphasized the importance of evolving from only looking at gender to also address diversity as a whole, including dimensions such as diversity in race, sexual orientation and the many more dimensions that make us all different.
At ALIVE, we continue to work closely with our current portfolio companies to implement and track the progress of our gender inclusion projects and our varied gender lens processes, while also exploring, how we can also help portfolio companies integrate robust and varied diversity and inclusion strategies into their operations.
To learn more about FLII, follow this link.
To read more about our impact and gender strategy, click here.