UNCDF and Artesian Launch Impact Partnership to Support Investments in Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment

  • May 15, 2020

  • New York, United States


UNCDF and Artesian Launch Impact Partnership to Support Investments in Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment.

New Gender-Lens Fund Will Donate to UNCDF to Support Female Entrepreneurs in the Poorest Countries

NEW YORK – May 15, 2020 – The United Nations Capital Development Fund (‘UNCDF’) and Artesian today launched an impact partnership to support gender-lens investing, boost female leaders in the corporate workplace, and support women’s economic empowerment in the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (‘LDCs’).

UNCDF is a UN agency with specialized expertise in making finance work for the poor in the world’s LDCs. Artesian is a global alternative investment management firm specializing in debt, venture capital and impact investment strategies.

The Artesian Women’s Economic Empowerment Bond Fund (WE Fund) will invest in public companies with women in management and board positions; fair compensation and work-life balance policies including parental leave and flexible work options; and commitment to gender equality. The fund will donate one-third of the management fee from the WE Fund to a nonprofit, SheSyndicate, and UNCDF to support women’s economic empowerment around the world.

“We are proud to work with Artesian and SheSyndicate on an innovative impact partnership,” said UNCDF Executive Secretary Judith Karl. “Pension funds and socially-conscious investors globally are seeking ways to use their investment dollars to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The WE Fund offers an innovative mechanism to recognize and reward companies with accountable business practices and gender-positive management policies, while also making a donation to support UNCDF’s work in LDCs.”

Through a fixed income strategy using Equileap’s screening and guidance, the WE Fund will seek to produce market rate returns tracking the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Corporate Index. “With the launch of our Women’s Economic Empowerment Bond Fund, we are making it easier for gender lens investors and stakeholders to support global economic equality,” said Artesian Managing Partner John McCartney. “UNCDF and SheSyndicate will be the key nonprofit partners supported by the WE Fund to implement transformational impact addressing this critical challenge.”

The WE Fund management fee donation to UNCDF will support the agency’s work in LDCs, including helping poor women access savings and credit; lending to small and mid-size businesses run by female entrepreneurs in frontier markets; and supporting local governments as they build climate-resilient infrastructure and manage their public finances in transparent and accountable ways for the benefit of women and men.

SheSyndicate will use its donation to fund education, mentoring and programs that benefit female entrepreneurs, investors, directors, and future leaders. A portion of the funding will also be used to set up a dedicated foundation to support non-governmental organizations that help the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized women and girls, particularly those affected by COVID-19.

“This partnership shows the promise of new ways of doing business,” said Esther Pan Sloane, Head of Partnerships, Policy and Communications at UNCDF. “It’s getting more difficult for investors to differentiate between the many new vehicles aimed at supporting sustainability or achieving impact. Artesian is demonstrating its commitment by putting money on the table to support women around the world. Their donation to UNCDF will help us support a new generation of female entrepreneurs in developing countries.”

“The global economic gender gap has complex causes and is widening each year,” said SheSyndicate Founder and Artesian Head of Impact Investing, Vicky Lay. “It will require concerted effort, ingenuity and resources to solve. Innovative public private partnerships like the WE Fund are necessary in order to unlock impact capital at scale and drive real change.”

About Artesian

Artesian is a global alternative investment management firm with $800M FUM, specializing in debt, venture capital, and impact investment strategies with a core focus on the Asia Pacific region. The company maintains offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Jakarta, Shanghai, New York, and London.

Visit us at and follow @artesianvc.

About SheSyndicate

SheSyndicate is a registered non-profit dedicated to bridging economic gender gaps through education, mentoring and outreach. SheSyndicate will also manage the WE Foundation, which will make grants to organizations advocating and operating for women’s economic empowerment globally. SheSyndicate is headquartered in New York City.

Visit us at and follow @She_Syndicate.


The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.

UNCDF’s financing models work through three channels: (1) inclusive digital economies, which connects individuals, households, and small businesses with financial eco-systems that catalyze participation in the local economy, and provide tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives; (2) local development finance, which capacitates localities through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance to drive local economic expansion and sustainable development; and (3) investment finance, which provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilization.

By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals—SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a broad diversity of SDGs. Visit us at, follow @UNCDF and subscribe for updates at

About Equileap
Equileap was launched in 2016 by Diana van Maasdijk and Jo Andrews, two professionals who have significant experience in philanthropy and specialize in women’s rights. Their mission was to take a leap towards gender equality in the workplace, and to lay out the data to show why that leap was so important. Much of the data already out there just focuses on women on boards. Equileap was the first to assess and rank thousands of companies across the world on gender equality based on 19 criteria, thus providing a unique and comprehensive database. Equileap’s data and gender equality indices have been used by dozens of financial products over the past few years, allowing investors to align their portfolio with their values. Equileap is now recognized as the leading organization providing data and insights on gender equality in the corporate sector. Visit us at

Statements in this communication may include forward-looking information and/or may be based on various assumptions. The forward-looking statements and other views or opinions expressed herein are made as of the date of this publication. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated and there is no guarantee that any particular outcome will come to pass. The statements made herein are subject to change at any time. Impact Shares disclaims any obligation to update or revise any statements or views expressed herein.

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