Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators

Who created The Gender Lens Incubation and Acceleration (GLIA) Toolkit?

The creation of the GLIA toolkit was a truly collaborative effort.

This toolkit is the result of a 12-month collaboration between the Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s Asia Women Impact Fund, and Frontier Incubators.

  • The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) aims to promote prosperity and foster a healthy international society, contributing to the furtherance of world peace.

  • The Asia Women Impact Fund is an initiative launched by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in 2017 to advance women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, gender lens investing and gender equality in the region.

  • Frontier Incubators is a capacity building program for incubators and accelerators with an impact focus working in Southeast Asia.

Frontier Incubators is part of the Scaling Frontier Innovation program, an initiative of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which supports social enterprises to scale their development impact in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Gender Lens Incubation and Acceleration (GLIA) Toolkit was delivered by a consortia of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, ygap, and SecondMuse.

  • ygap is an International Development not-for-profit with an innovative approach to poverty alleviation.

  • recognises the transformative power that convening, when done right, has to positively change the world.

  • SecondMuse builds economies of the future in collaboration with visionary cities, countries, nonprofits and startups.

Pilot Program

The GLIA toolkit was extensively piloted by incubator and accelerator partners to refine, validate and contextualise the guidelines, frameworks and recommendations for Southeast Asia. They share their practical experiences of using the toolkit through real-world case studies that can be found throughout the GLIA toolkit.

  • xchange is an impact investor and incubator in early-stage social enterprises in the Philippines. Through their work, they aim to multiply the change that social enterprises achieve, by helping them reach sustainability and scale in the shortest possible time.

  • SHE Investments is a social enterprise that designs and delivers the first and only gender-focused and culturally tailored business incubator and accelerator programs for women in Cambodia.

  • ONOW runs an incubator for domestic migrant women in Myanmar. Their incubator is designed to quickly build basic skills in financial capabilities and digital literacy through a tech-enabled approach, and follows a cohort model for moving their entrepreneurs through ideation, market research, and business modelling.

  • Phandeeyar aims to harness technology to accelerate change in Myanmar. Our team specifically work to accelerate the growth of startups in Myanmar, and expand the pool of tech and creative talents.

  • Instellar aims to accelerate social innovation in organisations, and work together towards scalable and sustainable social impact through incubation, advisory, and investment in mission-driven companies.

  • Agile Development Group is a disability enterprise development agency that creates innovative solutions and economic opportunities for people with disabilities (PwDs) to increase their inclusion, freedom and independence.


  • 1.

    Breaking it down into categories: By breaking it down into how it applies to an intermediary’s organisation, program and ecosystem, as well as providing example strategies, this toolkit makes the process of applying a gender lens less intimidating.


    Offering multiple pathways: There is no one way to use this toolkit. Whilst some intermediaries read the toolkit from cover to cover, others focussed on specific parts.


    Provides a practical application: Intermediaries are able to use the toolkit to benefit their work. Case studies illustrating how the six intermediaries who participated in the pilot were able to apply the toolkit to their work, and what they were able to achieve, are included throughout.


    Translation: Translation may be needed moving forward to make this toolkit accessible more widely.

Initial Research

Prior to this, both online research and outreach into current practices in gender lens incubation and acceleration was conducted. The aim of this research was to uncover best practices in how intermediaries have applied a gender lens to their organisation, program, and ecosystem. Both the research and the pilot also aimed to understand the barriers intermediaries face when considering gender in how they operate, engage, and deliver their work.

We would like to thank the intermediaries within and outside of Southeast Asia who participated in the initial research conducted to develop the GLIA Toolkit. Their contributions have helped to make this guide as practical and relevant as possible for intermediaries like themselves, who are delivering incubator and accelerator programs in a variety of sectors and contexts.


  • 1.

    Lack of deliberate approach: Very few intermediaries are currently using a deliberate approach to applying a gender lens throughout all their work – in their organisation, program and in how they engage with their broader ecosystem.


    Desire to address specific issues: A larger number of intermediaries have attempted to apply a gender lens to try and solve specific issues within their work, one of the most mentioned being to attract more female applicants in order to increase the gender diversity of their cohorts.


    Lack of references and resources: The intermediaries we interviewed cited a lack of role models, case studies, and research as being key barriers to deliberately applying a gender lens to their work. They mentioned that training resources, personal assistance through seminars and workshops, and examples of strategies used would be helpful for them to get started in, or strengthen their approach.


    Prominence among female-only programs: Female-only programs were more likely to have considered how their activities are experienced by female entrepreneurs than mixed-gender programs. They were more likely to have researched the specific needs of female entrepreneurs, and cater to the needs of female entrepreneurs as part of their organisation, program, and in how they’re trying to influence their broader ecosystem.