One thing is clear after participating in the first Gender Smart Investing Forum in Latin America; interest in gender smart businesses and investment practices is overwhelming. The GSI Forum was organized by Pro Mujer and held within the framework of the 10th Annual Latin American Impact Investing Forum (FLII). 

Gender Smart Investing
L-R: Susana Garcia-Robles, Karla Gallardo, Magali Lamyin, Natalia Wills, Virgilio Barco.

Investing with a gender lens has grown significantly around the world from $1.3 billion in 2017 to $2.2 billion in 2018. Yet Latin America lags behind. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), only 5% of capital funds go towards supporting women-led enterprises, and 73% of women-led SMEs in the region report not having access to financial institutions nor getting the amount of financing they need to support their businesses.

Women represent close to half of the world’s population but their participation in the workforce is still limited. Women’s full participation in the economy could bring significant growth, estimated by McKinsey to add up to $28 trillion dollars globally by 2025. Moreover, research shows that women invest 90% of their income back into their families and communities, improving education and health prospects, reducing poverty and creating a virtuous cycle in the economy.

Pro-Mujer and Deetken Impact Partner in Argentina

Why Invest in Women

Investing in women-led businesses and increasing women’s participation in the workforce are both crucial to generating economic growth in a more equitable fashion, but the scope of Gender Smart Investing is much broader. It aims to advance equal representation on boards and management teams, equality in the workplace and in the value chain, and having women and girls at the center of the products and services that companies design and sell. Only by incorporating all of these metrics into business and investment decisions, will we truly advance gender equality. 

In addition to the benefits generated in terms of economic growth, reduction of poverty, and advancement of gender equality, there is a proven business case for gender-lens investing. Businesses that incorporate gender smart practices report increased profitability. In the same way, funds that invest with a gender lens report higher returns. There are several reasons for this – mainly that by incorporating the women’s perspective into business practices and investment decisions, we allow for more diversity, inclusion, and sensibility which better understands and aligns with the female population. As Susana Garcia Robles, Chief, Loans & Equity Operations and Gender Coordinator at IDB LAB recently emphasized, “women are responsible for 64% of purchasing decisions globally”.

Advance Gender Equality

Some Practical Challenges

Despite the compelling gains and benefits on all fronts, we see two significant challenges. The first is analytical; we need to be able to measure the extent of inequality through the analysis of disaggregated gender data, as well as creating new approaches to address conscious and unconscious biases in investment decision-making. The second barrier is the practical challenge of execution, namely the know-how, time, and resources required.

Looking Ahead

We believe that as gender smart practices are more broadly adopted and collaboration among organizations strengthens, the know-how will be more widely shared and understood. The Latin American Gender Smart Investing forum and other spaces alike are critical in facilitating this.

A major debate during the forum centered on the cost of implementation of a gender smart strategy and whether the company or the investor should bear the cost. Great ideas were proposed including cost-sharing or commercialization of the data for government or university research use. Another idea that stood out for me was the use of tax incentives for companies and investment funds that have a gender smart strategy. This is an idea being driven by Silvia Torres Carbonell, Executive Director of the IAE’s Entrepreneurship Center and W20 delegate in Argentina, and which might be worth pursuing in each of our countries.  

Deetken Impact uses a gender smart strategy to evaluate our fund’s investments because we believe in the positive impact we’re generating and the proven business case. We will continue to collaborate with others in this ecosystem to broaden the adoption of these practices and together accelerate gender equality in Latin America.

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Magali Lamyin, Director of Communications and Development for Deetken Impact


Director of Communications and Development


Magali brings extensive market intelligence, business development and marketing experience from her work at the Central Bank of Mexico, the Canadian Institute for Market Intelligence, and the IESE-PWC e-Business Centre in Barcelona. She also co-led national marketing campaigns for businesses in the hospitality and early childhood education sectors for almost a decade before joining Deetken. In her current role, she is responsible for leading Deetken Impact’s communications, marketing and branding strategy. She is also involved in the due diligence process for project selection with an emphasis in Mexico.

Magali holds a BA in Economics from Mexico's ITAM and a Master's degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia.

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Jose Lamyin, Managing Partner Deetken Impact


Managing Partner


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, Managing Partner Deetken Impact


Managing Partner


Alexa is responsible for finance, operations and investor relations at Deetken Impact. She 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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Fernando Alvarado, Head of Deetken Impact Sustainable Energy



Honduras Renewable Energy Managers (HREM) and Caribbean Renewable Energy Managers (CAREM)


Fernando Alvarado leads the General Partner and Investment Advisor of two clean energy and energy efficiency project finance and venture capital funds: Honduras Renewable Energy Financing Facility (H-REFF) and Caribbean Basin Sustainable Energy Fund (CABEF), which he structured and runs with a combined target capitalization of $100m.

Development Investment Banker with 28 years of international credit and investment experience and 18 years of direct experience assessing diversified renewable energy portfolios in Latin America & the Caribbean. He has participated in more than 50 syndicated credit and investment transactions for renewable energy projects in excess of $250 MM. He led the creation, structuring, fundraising, legal closing and portfolio construction of several specialized renewable energy funds.

Costa Rican, based in San Jose, Mr. Alvarado has an MBA in Banking and Finance cum laude from Universidad de Costa Rica.

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Carl Black, Portfolio Manager Deetken Impact


Portfolio Manager


Carl is a Portfolio Manager with Deetken Impact focused on analyzing and working with MSMEs, social enterprises, and renewable energy developers in Latin America and the Caribbean. His main responsibilities include supporting business development, managing technical assistance projects, leading investment due diligence, and monitoring portfolio performance. Prior to joining Deetken Impact, Carl worked for five years as a consultant, advising public sector clients an non profits in Canada and financial services companies in Latin America. He started his career at the Bank of Canada, where he researched 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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Cristobal Aguirre, Investment Analyst at Deetken Impact


Investment Analyst


Cristobal has over 6 years of experience in the asset management industry, where his responsibilities have ranged from asset allocation and portfolio management to risk analysis and software development. Before relocating to Canada, Cristobal worked as a senior investment analyst in AFP Habitat—Chile’s largest pension fund—where he led the tactical asset allocation and macroeconomic research for emerging markets.

Cristobal is a CFA Charterholder, and completed a BA in Economics at Universidad de Chile.

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Chad Parsons, Senior Investment Analyst at Deetken Impact




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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