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

Gender and Sustainability

Achieving gender equality, diversity and inclusivity is important for us as accelerators and incubators, not only because gender equality is a fundamental human right but also because it can help us achieve sustainable development and improve our business outcomes.

There are several important reasons to strive for gender equality, diversity, and inclusivity within our organisations, programs, and ecosystems. Intermediaries that are inclusive and diverse will be better equipped to attract and retain talent, design quality programs, innovate, respond to risk, and capitalise on new opportunities.

The compounded effect of improving resilience across these factors will result in significant additional benefits to our employees, entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem. Achieving gender equality also constitutes a fundamental human right, and is essential to achieving sustainable development, vibrant economies, and peaceful societies more broadly.

The impact of applying a gender lens:


Within our organisations, evidence shows that achieving gender equality, diversity and inclusivity can help us:

  • Better understand our customers

    As an intermediary, it can help us to better understand our entrepreneurs and investors’ evolving needs. This can help us to create and deliver better programs and services that support entrepreneurs of all genders, and in doing so, create a more diverse investment pipeline for our investors.

    Applying a gender lens to the product development process can also help design more effectively for a broader group of end customers.

    Source: Banahan & Hasson, 2018

  • Make better decisions

    Different genders have different attitudes towards risk, so if our decision-makers (e.g. board and leadership team) are gender diverse across our organisation and programs, this can lead to a more balanced decision-making process.


    Source: Banahan & Hasson, 2018

  • Perform better, financially

    Gender diversity and inclusion leads to more talent retention, better decision making, improved problem solving and the ability to serve a larger, more diverse customer base, ultimately leading to better operating performance and financial results.


    Source: McKinsey and Company, 2018, p. 8, Dent, 2019

  • Be more competitive and innovative

    Different genders experience the world differently and therefore, have different views and ideas.


    Source: IZA World of Labor, 2017.

  • Attract, select, and retain talent

    Having a gender diverse and inclusive organisational culture has proven to help companies attract and retain talent.


    Source: Gallup, 2014.

  • Attract more funding

    Gender Lens Investing (GLI) mandated investments globally increased from $100M to $2.4 billion between 2014 and 2018.


    Source: Veris, 2018.


Within our programs, applying a gender lens can help us increase the accessibility of our programs to all genders, and it can also increase the effectiveness and value of the program(s) that we deliver. Through this, we can increase the gender diversity of the entrepreneurs we serve and better support them, thus increasing their chances of achieving venture growth (impact and revenue) and sustainability.Within our programs, gender diversity can help us to:

  • Increase innovation

    Women remain an underrepresented group within the entrepreneurial space, yet women entrepreneurs are 5% more likely than men to be innovative in their businesses.


    Source: Kelley, et al., 2017, p.9

  • Generate higher economic returns

    Women-led startups that are venture-backed were also found to be less likely to fail, used less capital, and had 12 percent higher annual revenues than those led by men in a study conducted in the US in 2009.


    Source: Criterion Institute, 2015, p. 55


    Investing in women also brings higher non-economic returns than investing in men, as women are more likely to reinvest their success into their children’s education, health, and nutrition compared to male entrepreneurs.


    Source: Criterion Institute, 2015, p. 54.


We as intermediaries have a unique power and ability to influence other players in the ecosystem around us, who play a key role in supporting the success of entrepreneurs. We can influence these players to consider and implement gender-inclusive practices, which will compound and accelerate the positive impacts of our work. Within our ecosystems, gender equality can:


How to Use

Find out tips on how you can get started using and making the most of this toolkit.