The EIF launches new mentorship programme to foster diversity and female representation

    Date: 27 March 2024
  • The Empowering Equity Mentorship Programme is launched today as a collaboration of the EIF, the EIB Advisory, and the European Commission.
  • It is designed to promote gender diversity in the European private equity ecosystem and provide guidance on key thematic areas.
  • Starting with six mentors, the programme is expected to grow over time.

In response to the voice of female investors across Europe and as part of our Empowering Equity initiative under InvestEU, the EIF launches today its new mentorship programme.

The initiative seeks to foster diversity within the European private equity landscape. It will provide a forum for interactions between up-and-coming female investors and more experienced women mentors already active in venture capital, private equity and private credit.

The mentors will serve as role models, helping shape the next generation of diverse investment professionals in Europe. The mentorship programme is expected to grow over time following a successful pilot phase.

This initiative complements the EIF’s efforts towards diversity and female representation, including a broader commitment in which 25% of its equity transactions (1 in 4 investments in funds) align with the gender criteria already established by InvestEU in previous years.

Under InvestEU, a fund is considered to adhere to the gender criteria if it satisfies at least one of the following principles: its management team is composed of at least one third of female partners, its senior investment team provides for at least 40% of female representation, or at least 40% of female representation is provided in its investment committee.

Marjut Falkstedt, EIF Chief Executive, said “A clear gender finance gap persists in the European funding ecosystem. Addressing it, and supporting greater diversity is key to creating a more prosperous, innovative, and inclusive business environment. The EIF is proud to be an active part of this transformation.”

Kerstin Jorna, European Commission Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) added “We want more women in Europe participating in, and deciding about funding that comes from the European Union. This is why, already under InvestEU, the European Commission has been supporting initiatives for more female representation. I welcome the new mentorship programme completing these efforts.”

Hristo Stoykov, Head of EIB Advisory Services, stated “This program has the potential to drive real change and foster a more inclusive investment ecosystem tackling the gender imbalance in the European private equity sector. By establishing a clear gender diversity criterion, the EIF, with EIB Advisory support, is leading the way towards a more balanced and inclusive landscape meant to provide progress and positive change.”

Benefiting from the Mentorship

The applicants to the Empowering Equity Mentorship will have the opportunity to submit their questions and seek advice across seven key thematic areas:

  • Setting up a new fund
  • Fund raising and stakeholder relations
  • Fund management and administration
  • Emerging markets: challenges and opportunities
  • ESG and impact
  • Career and personal life
  •  Exit strategies.

The holistic approach is meant to provide to mentees with tailored guidance on their specific needs. Multiple questions can be submitted, and asking for guidance under the Empowering Equity Mentorship Programme is free of charge.

In line with the EIF’s mission as a European Union institution, the Empowering Equity Mentorship Programme is currently focusing on advice to mentees located in, or setting up a fund with a geographical focus on the EU Member States.

More information and link to participate in the Empowering Equity Mentorship are here.
Read also EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt’s blog: Inspire inclusion #IWD2024

Background information

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

The EIB Group aims to embed gender equality and in particular women’s economic empowerment in its business model and is also committed to driving gender equality in its workplace. The EIF is putting a strong focus on boosting gender smart investing, complemented with non-financial support and advisory activities. The EIF is actively seeking to back equity funds with strong female representation at decision-making level, to promote diversity and unlock opportunities for women-led businesses.

Additional information: Female access to finance: a survey of literature

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