28 October 2019 | Case Study

Investing in Women Case Study Series: Capital 4 Development Partners

Gender Lens Investing


This case study discusses the achievements and key learnings of Investing in Women (IW) and Capital 4 Development (C4D) Partners in advancing gender lens investing through blended finance structure.

To reduce the funding gap to women’s small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and mobilise capital flow to women’s SMEs, IW has established four different blended finance structures with impact investing partners via the provision of a performance-based grant. This unique blended finance approach is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia which mobilises as well as accelerates capital flow to women’s SMEs.

Established in 2013, C4D Partners is an initiative of the Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO), a global leading non-governmental organisation with over 50 years of development finance experience. Following a management buyout in 2018, C4D Partners now operates as an independent global impact investment manager.

This report discusses how the partnership with C4D Partners complements the capital instruments deployed by IW’s other impact investment partners who focus on debt, mezzanine and equity financing. IW’s incentivised performance-based grant is invested as equity into C4D’s Asia Fund with the aim of growing SMEs in Asia with a clear social impact on improving the livelihoods of marginalised communities.

Due to IW’s involvement, C4D Partners’ Asia Fund adopted an explicit gender target, with a minimum 30% of the Fund dedicated to providing capital to women’s SMEs. C4D partners also seek co-investments from other strategic partners, further aiming to leverage private capital by three to five folds.

This is part of a series of case studies detailing the four investment vehicles established by IW with reputable global impact investors including Capital 4 Development, along with Patamar Capital, Root Capital, and Small Enterprise Assistance Fund. The series was developed by Ernst & Young with support from Investing in Women.


The partnership with IW helped C4D to:

  • Incorporate a gender lens into investment strategy and enhance C4D Partners’ commitment to ESG values.
  • Build a more gender-diversified investment team with improved relationships with investees.
  • Improve understanding of power dynamics in supply chains, particularly concerning women’s roles in underserved communities.
  • Identify suitable financial instrument (hybrid debt instrument) to tailor support for businesses with diverse return profiles.

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