Ilu Women's Empowerment Fund

A joint venture of Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer

Growing equality in Latin America and the Caribbean

“Ilu” is an Aymara word meaning “to plant,” and it represents our commitment to cultivating a world where women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean lead their fullest and most productive lives. The Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund focuses on unleashing the power of women and girls through financially sound, gender smart investments.

We’ve seen what women in Latin America can accomplish with the right resources. They build stronger lives, families and communities, and create opportunities for other women. We are very excited for this partnership with Deetken Impact, and for the commitment of OPIC towards ensuring the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund positively impacts women’s lives and the way businesses and investors commit to gender equal practices.

Maria Cavalcanti, President & CEO
Maria Cavalcanti, President & CEO

ABOUT THE FUND

The Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund is a joint venture between Deetken Impact, a Canadian impact asset manager, and Pro Mujer.
The Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund invests in a diversified portfolio of high impact businesses that promote women in leadership and governance, products and services that meet the needs of women and girls, gender-sensitive value chains and workplace equity. This innovative partnership between an impact asset management firm and a local women’s organization is designed to enhance the participation of diverse groups of women in the Fund’s governance and decision-making. Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer share a mutual commitment to supporting women’s empowerment across their business activities and to the implementation of investment management practices that empower women.

Ilu makes senior and subordinated debt investments in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a focus on transactions between US $1 to $3 MM. Portfolio investments include financial institutions that provide integrated and thoughtfully designed services for low-income women including access to healthcare, educational loans, financial services, and technical assistance, as well as gender-smart investments in renewable energy, affordable housing and social enterprise. 

Ilu delivers strong financial returns while also providing meaningful and measurable social and environmental benefits, with a specific focus on advancing Sustainable Development Goals #5 Gender Equality, #3 Good Health & Well-being, #4 Quality Education, #7 Affordable & Clean Energy and #8 Decent Work & Economic Growth. The target fund size is US $35MM, with US $25 million already committed and US $14 million deployed. After successfully closing the first fundraising round from catalytic investors, Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer are planning a second round to raise another US $10 million. Ilu integrates gender considerations throughout the full investment process including: 

  • Implementation of a gender smart evaluation framework and scorecard for use in investment screening, due diligence and monitoring; 
  • Measurement and evaluation of gender metrics for reporting to stakeholders, using a proprietary framework informed by industry-leading best practices; and 
  • Gender inclusion training for portfolio company management. 

 


INVESTORS

Investors in the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund include the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Vancity credit union, Cooperativa ABACO, Canadian foundations, family offices and individuals. OPIC has committed US $10MM of senior debt financing to the fund. OPIC’s investment will advance its 2X Women’s Initiative, which has catalyzed more than $1 billion in capital to empower women in developing countries around the world. 

 

Women in Latin America face steep barriers to full economic empowerment. By partnering with Pro Mujer and Deetken Impact to expand access to products and services that empower low-income women like financial services and safe housing, OPIC will help equip women with the tools they need to transform their communities.

Kathryn C. Kaufman, OPIC Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues
Kathryn C. Kaufman, OPIC Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues

Advancing gender equality means collaborating across private, public and philanthropic sectors. By partnering with Pro Mujer, we are integrating decades of experience serving women and girls in Latin America into investment decision-making. We welcome OPIC’s participation and value their commitment to inspiring other investors to take up the 2X Challenge.

Alexa Blain, Managing Partner of Deetken Impact
Alexa Blain, Managing Partner of Deetken Impact

DEETKEN IMPACT is a Canadian registered investment fund manager with a 10-year track record of delivering strong, stable returns to investors by supporting businesses that make a meaningful contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. Deetken currently manages and co-manages close to $100MM in impact assets, primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean. Deetken Impact is a signatory to the UN Global Compact and a certified B Corporation.

PRO MUJER is a mission-driven women’s development organization committed to positively impacting the lives of its clients and their families. Its integrated approach offers access to finance, health and educational services. These are delivered in supportive social spaces that foster community building and equip women with the resources to help them reach their full potential. Since 1990, Pro Mujer has disbursed over $3.6 billion in loans, provided over 9 million health interventions and reached millions of women across the region. Pro Mujer is headquartered in New York City and currently operates in Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.