"2XChallenge" to empower women in developing countries.

If you haven’t heard of the 2X Challenge, you will soon. Announced during the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, it’s a call for development finance institutions (DFIs) to collectively mobilize $3 billion in commitments that provide women in developing countries with improved access to leadership opportunities, quality employment, finance and enterprise support.

As investors in businesses that provide exactly these services, Deetken Impact is keenly interested in how this capital is deployed. This is a potentially transformational opportunity to change the lives of women and girls in developing countries.

Canada’s Endorsement and Role

Importantly, Canada has accepted the 2X Challenge. But can we deliver? Clearly there is strong alignment philosophically; Canada has become a global champion of gender equality and has formally committed to a feminist international assistance policy. However, until very recently Canada didn’t have a DFI to actually operationalize this commitment.

We are seeing lots of progress in the right direction. Firstly, in early 2018, Canada formally launched its own DFI, FinDev Canada, and has hired experienced management. This includes CEO Paul Lamontagne, previously with Capafrica and CIBC Global Markets, and CIO Suzanne Gaboury, previously a Global Director of FMO (Netherlands DFI) and a Managing Director of Cordiant Capital. So far, FinDev has completed one transaction, a US$10MM investment in M-KOPA, a Kenya-based company that provides pay-as-you-go energy for off-grid homes.

In addition, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has announced ‘’a new partnership to fund gender equality and empower women and girls’’ including a financial commitment of $300 million. The partnership is still at the consultation stage, and Deetken Impact looks forward to working closely with GAC as well as like-minded organizations from the private and philanthropic sectors to drive this initiative forward.

Women picking beans in El Salvador.

Women picking beans in El Salvador.

Our Two Cents

As a private sector investment firm with a focus on making an impact, we have identified a few key principles which we believe can help unlock more private capital, scale the partnership, enhance sustainability and maximize social impact.

1. Investing for impact is “high-touch’’. One thing we’ve learned in 10 years of impact investing is that identifying and supporting businesses that truly make a difference for women and girls is about real relationships and regular in-person contact, as well as well-developed networks and partnerships with other businesses in the region. Wherever possible, we think the 2X funds should leverage the skills and experience of local asset managers with a proven track record of success, and who have the capacity and capability to closely manage the investments on the ground to ensure continued alignment.

2. Bigger isn’t always better. With $3 billion to invest, it’s probably tempting to focus on investments in larger companies and projects. But we see tremendous opportunity for gender-informed investments in small and mid-cap companies across developing countries. In Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, a credit cooperative that is developing an app to help women clients address gender-based violence through connection to local counselling services. Or a water delivery company that has chosen to train 100% women drivers in a livelihood typically reserved for men. These small and mid-size businesses often have the tailored approach and trust required to get buy-in and spark social change.

3. It’s not just about the clients. Although businesses which focus on well-designed products and services for women clients can certainly help to foster equality and empowerment, we believe strongly that gender lens investing must take a 360-degree view. That means looking for investment opportunities that ‘’walk the walk’’ with women in senior management, women on the board, and women investors. These can be crucial indicators that the commitment to equality and empowerment is firm and truly embedded throughout the organization.

We are excited to see Canada’s strong endorsement of the 2X Challenge. We look forward to working together to make more capital and other resources available for investments that foster gender equality and drive transformative change in the power dynamics between women and men.

 

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Andre Powell, Chief Executive Officer at Deetken Impact

ANDRÉ POWELL

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

With over 20 years of experience, André has a long track record of successfully advising public sector clients on significant private sector transactions, including strategic guidance on funding models, complex procurements, economic development and negotiations. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, André was a senior Associate at Booz & Co and an Analyst with Accenture’s strategy and finance practice. André is a seasoned investor having been actively involved in the Deetken Capital Investment Pool since inception. André received a BA from Queen’s University and an MA in Economics from the University of British Columbia.

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Jose Lamyin

Chief Investment Officer

José has extensive experience as a business advisor for clients throughout Canada, Europe and Latin America in mining, telecommunications, and finance. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, José worked for Teck Cominco in Peru and Canada and Deutsche Bank in London (UK). José has spearheaded much of the strategic growth of Deetken Asset Management since inception and is currently focused on investment selection.

José received his BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and MBA from IESE School of Business (Barcelona). Born in Peru, José is fluent in English and Spanish.

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Alexa Blain

Chief Operating Officer

Alexa brings over 10 years of experience in financial consulting and asset management, with specific expertise in company and investment analysis, business valuation and securities/corporate finance. Prior to joining Deetken, she spent three years with African Alliance, a pan-African financial services group, where she focused on expanding the firm’s retail financial services operations as well as on the origination and negotiation of new capital. In addition, Alexa has six years of asset management experience with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Macquarie Group and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Alexa is a CFA Charterholder. She has also completed an MA in Financial Economics and an Honours BA in Economics, both at the University of Toronto.

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German Matzumura

Regional Director

German began his banking career in 2006 as an Executive in Banco Financiero’s Personal Banking Division and was then promoted to Branch Manager. In April 2008 he joined Abaco, serving as a Manager of the Regional Division, where has worked in various capacities. In 2013, he was appointed as Head of the Regional Division and in 2016 was appointed as Deputy CEO.

 

German graduated in Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration IPAE (Lima, Peru) and holds a Diploma in Marketing & Sales Management at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola. He also holds an MA in Marketing & Sales Management from the ESIC Business and Marketing School (Spain).

 

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Carl Black

Principal

Carl has over 5 years professional experience successfully working with clients to develop and improve policy, strategy, and operations. He has advised public sector clients and non-profits in Canada and financial services companies in Latin America. Prior to joining The Deetken Group Carl worked at the Bank of Canada, where he focused on issues related to household and business credit. 

Carl completed an Honours BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia. He also holds an MSc in Economics & Development from the University of Oxford, where he earned distinctions in quantitative and development economics.

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Samir Shah

Chief Growth Officer

Samir is a seasoned professional with a 15 year track record of success working with private and public sector organizations in the areas of strategy, business transformation, technology commercialization and financial analysis/due-diligence. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, Samir was a senior manager responsible for early stage technology commercialization at BlackBerry and NEC Electronics.

Samir received his BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and his MBA (Finance) from Queen’s University.

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CHAD PARSONS

SENIOR ANALYST

Chad has worked as a consultant in business and technology for 20 years – often helping clients with their business transformation initiatives.    He has worked with start-ups, government, and established businesses to further their product and service offerings with a balanced approach.   After pursuing a research degree on leveraging technology for social and economic development; Chad has found a valuable alignment of his background with Deetken’s innovative impact investments.

 

Chad completed a BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has a MSc with distinction from the University of Manchester (UK).

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