Posted on November 01, 2016

Posted by: Kelly Robbins, Special Projects Lead

Enclude is thrilled to be one of the recipients of the 2016 ANDE Catalyst Fund grants!  What are we going to do with it?

With the support of the fund, Enclude will pilot a Gender Benchmarking Tool, designed to empower banks to serve women better through insights from publicly available big data.

The Challenge

Roughly one-third of all small and medium enterprises in developing countries are led by women, yet only 16-18% of SME lending goes to women-led enterprises.  We know that the opportunity to support this growth could be as large as USD 350 billion[1].  Yet strides still need to be made in designing and delivering accessible capital to women entrepreneurs.  Real change for women will not be accomplished by a handful of isolated lending programs.  Banks around the globe need to address a holistic picture of how they work with and for women: designing targeted loan products, confronting gender bias in loan approval, and bundling loans with other products women entrepreneurs need (such as savings and mobile payments).  Even more, banks need to consider how they employ women, how they market to women, and how success with these key clients can be measured in gender-disaggregated data.  Achieving maximum impact in terms of closing the credit gap means grappling with this holistic picture.

The Solution

To address the credit gap challenge, Enclude has developed a standardized Gender Benchmarking Tool that assesses banks’ performance and effectiveness in serving women customers, particularly women entrepreneurs.  The Tool combines a scorecard assessment of quantitative and qualitative performance of the bank, with a graphical analysis of women entrepreneurs’ practices and preferences in the relevant regional and national markets.  The client bank’s scorecard results are benchmarked against the regional realities and competitor performance to deliver clear recommendations for the most effective ways to improve services for women.

The Gender Benchmarking Tool’s specialized software design mines big data to deliver tailored insights banks need to serve women clients well.  This design is responsive to continuous updates of public data, and can fluently drill down by product type or delivery channel within the national or regional market of the client bank.

How will it work to close the credit gap?  For each bank, the assessment delivers:

  1. An accurate overview of the bank’s current levels of gender performance, benchmarked against other financial institutions in the same market
  2. Facilitation of self-defined gender impact goals
  3. An understanding of best practices for serving women clients, and a clear picture of local practices
  4. Recommendations of the most efficient and effective improvements based on the bank’s gender performance, in tailoring marketing, products, delivery channels, and operational practices

We are excited to pursue the pilot of the Gender Benchmarking Tool, with the support of ANDE and our fellow members.  If you are interested in giving input or participating in the pilot, please contact Kelly Robbins at

And finally – congrats to our fellow recipients: Alterna, el Buen Socio and Value for Women, Kiva, and Synergy Social Ventures!

[1] IFC, “Closing the Credit Gap for Formal and Informal Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises”

Go Back