Gender-lens Investments Enable Women Entrepreneurs to Thrive in Pakistan – IFC (2020)

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IFC, 2020 – 8 pages

In 2019, IFC invested $2 million into Sarmayacar, supporting start-ups in Pakistan through one of the first Venture Capital funds in the country. Additional Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) funding was specifically leveraged to support Sarmayacar to invest with a gender lens. This partnership aims to demonstrate the viability of investments in women-led tech start-ups in Pakistan. We-Fi has enabled the de-risking of entrepreneurial financing for women entrepreneurs and Sarmayacar benefits from this increased support by being able to access a larger investment-ready pipeline of women-led opportunities. IFC’s and We-Fi’s support to Sarmayacar led to the development of a strategy using the principles of gender-lens investing, including the adoption of gender-related goals to actively source and develop investments in women-led companies. At its inception in 2018, Sarmayacar’s pipeline of women-owned companies was less than 10%. In 2020, the fund’s pipeline has increased to 42%.