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Improving women and youth livelihoods through small and growing business: Measuring impact

During the 2000s, economic growth and increased social investment reduced poverty and increased labour market opportunities in Latin America. With the recent slowdown in growth, poverty reduction has stalled, and the risk of sliding back into poverty has increased for vulnerable populations, particularly women. Small and growing businesses (SGBs) play an important role in lifting people out of poverty. SGBs are commercially viable businesses intended to advance business objectives and development goals simultaneously, thus empowering marginalized groups. However, SGBs face pressure to achieve financial sustainability and prove their social value for their stakeholders. Measuring social value is a persistent challenge for them.

To help overcome this challenge, this project will build local capacities for impact measurement with a gender lens, support collaboration between local researchers and SGBs to pilot and implement impact measurement frameworks, and inform global dialogue for enhanced impact measurement for gender equality and inclusion. More specifically, the project will build local capacities and a community of practice through access to common tools, frameworks, and approaches on impact measurement, and organizing learning labs, webinars, and conferences. It will also increase the rigour and quality of impact measurement practices and support piloting and implementing impact metrics to assess the impact of SGBs through a catalyst fund for partnerships between researchers and enterprises.

This project builds a partnership between IDRC and the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a lead global network working towards strengthening the field of SGBs and propelling entrepreneurship in emerging markets. ANDE members operate in 150 countries, reaching more than 415,000 entrepreneurs. The project will focus on Latin America and will facilitate South-South and global-local learning and improve impact measurement for gender inclusion for more than 100 organizations.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Carolina Robino
Total Funding
CA$ 695,972.00
South America
Sustainable Inclusive Economies
Employment and Growth
The Aspen Institute
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Matthew Guttentag
The Aspen Institute, Inc.