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International Development Research Centre
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Part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, IDRC invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve the lives of people in the developing world. Bringing together the right partners around opportunities for impact, IDRC builds leaders for today and tomorrow and helps drive change for those who need it most. IDRC supports action research on business models that generate solutions to development challenges and bring together profits and social and environmental returns and on impact investing and finance mechanisms to support these entrepreneurs grow. The programming includes a focus on brining a gender lens to purpose driven businesses and investment. IDRC initiatives bring researchers and business networks together to fine-tune impact management and assessment tools that shed light on financial, social, and environmental returns with a gender lens, and generate more robust evidence on the impact of businesses and investment to address poverty, inequality and contribute to the SDGs. As an example, IDRC collaborates with partners such as ANDE to improve the livelihoods of women and youth by measuring the social impact of small and growing businesses (SGBs). Linking local researchers and SGBs, the project is helping businesses apply a gender lens in measuring their success. Building on ongoing collaboration with the B Corporation movement, IDRC is supporting Sistema B and BLab, in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact, to build a platform that enables businesses to assess, compare, and improve their performance against the SDGs. Related IDRC projects support exploration of the impacts of gender-lens investing, drawing lessons from cross-country comparisons. IDRC is also supporting Gender Smart Enterprise Assistance Research Coalition-G-SEARCH, a consortium of leading impact investors to partner with researchers to assess the role and effectiveness of Technical Assistance and acceleration for scaling up gender lens impact investing. Another IDRC partnership with the ANDE and the Global Acceleration Learning Initiative is also looking at incubation and acceleration programs to assess their effectiveness and enhance impact with a gender lens. IDRC supported research also seeks to inform policies (implementation of impact values -including sourcing from women led or owned businesses- in government procurement, specific legal forms for business, etc.). Working closely with researchers, investors, impact businesses and policymakers, IDRC supported projects analyse and support pilots for the implementation of gender lens and impact driven government procurement and regulatory tools. IDRC-supported research is informing educational programmes in LAC (university level). The research and collaboration with business schools and universities has led to curricula development to nurture a new generation of business leaders and investors which seek to use business and investment for good.

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