Research consistently proves that more diverse teams yield better results. Capria has embraced this knowledge since inception and is now increasing integration of gender smart investing principles into capacity development within the Capria Network.
Further, IFC research shows there is a strong correlation between gender balanced leadership and financial performance. The funds with gender-balanced leadership outperformed their unbalanced peers by as much as 20% in annual returns.
We caught up for a quick Q&A with Capria Network Member, Lateral Capital’s Operating Principal, Ochuwa Akhigbe-Ogionwo, on how and why to increase women’s participation in investing and the kind of impact it will bring within the investing ecosystem in emerging markets. Here are the excerpts:
What is the biggest challenge you see today resulting in the low numbers of women in fund management?
Ochuwa: Due to social expectations, women often have multiple responsibilities. When you have a demanding career, it requires significant discipline to be able to juggle all responsibilities adequately. Hence, only a small percentage are able to do this, and an even smaller percentage are willing to make the sacrifice.
What tip can you share for women who have the goal of becoming a fund manager?
Ochuwa: Delegate where you can and accept that you cannot excel at everything.
What is the biggest challenge and/or what are positive trends you see today in making capital available to women entrepreneurs in emerging markets?
Ochuwa: Female entrepreneurs seem to be less aggressive in the ambition for their business as compared to their male counterparts. This typically results in a more carefully considered but conservative business plan, sometimes to the extent that they seem to downplay the potential of the business. As a result, they’re less likely to receive funding from investors looking for outsized returns.
How will you use your leadership position as a fund manager to drive gender equality, health, rights, and well-being of girls and women?
Ochuwa: Within our portfolio, I would like to see an improved ratio of female-to-male led businesses. I actively seek out female-led businesses for our pipeline. In my personal capacity, I mentor female entrepreneurs and high potential career women.
Capria offers Gender Lens investors the opportunity to support and benefit from funds with female leadership. Six out of Capria Networks 19 fund managers include females in leadership, with two teams that are exclusively women-led and 4 teams that have women partners or principals.
More than 30% of Capria’s Network Funds Have Women in Leadership Roles. Read here how it is adding value to the emerging market investing ecosystem.
Read what other network members have to say about gender-smart investing:
- Lessons in gender-smart investing from Unitus Ventures, a Capria Network member >
- Lessons in gender-smart investing from Terra Global Capital, a Capria Network member >
- Lessons in gender-smart investing from Brightmore Capital, a Capria Network member >
- Lessons in gender-smart investing from Capital Invent, a Capria Network member >