Programs & Projects

Measuring the Return on Investment of Women-Inclusive Business Practices



Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital engines of growth and employment, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Research has shown that gender-inclusive practices can enhance both financial and social outcomes for these businesses.

WDI, in collaboration with DAI and MarketShare Associates (MSA) through USAID’s Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity, conducted a series of case studies highlighting how SMEs can achieve “profit with purpose” through women-inclusive business models and operations. WDI’s key role on this project was to calculate the women-inclusive return on investment which included working closely with companies to collect and collate data.

This collection of resources answers the call of the  Women-Inclusive Return on Investment Investment (WI-ROI) framework to build the evidence base of ROIs from SMEs in LMICs. The case studies also provide detailed information on how the ROI was calculated to help inform those interested in calculating their own WI-ROI. The learning note and synthesis report offer guidance on selecting and vetting companies, measuring the WI-ROI, and scaling women-inclusive strategies.

Key Resources:

  • Case Studies:
    • Grean World: An Ethiopian renewable energy company leveraging women sales agents from the local communities to reach women consumers.
    • Okeba: A Ugandan agribusiness providing on-site, high-quality, childcare services to employees with childcare responsibilities.
  • Learning Note: “Navigating Firm Selection for Women-Inclusive ROI” distills key lessons in identifying and working with companies on WI-ROI initiatives.
  • Synthesis Report: “Closing the Gap: A Synthesis Report on the Cases for the ROI of Women’s Inclusion” presents the findings, benefits, and considerations of the WI-ROI approach.

These resources aim to equip SMEs with the knowledge and tools needed to implement women-inclusive practices, measure their impact and WI-ROI, and ultimately drive business growth while contributing to gender equality. The team also held a webinar in April 2024 introducing these resources and answering audience questions on the WI-ROI.

We’d love to hear your feedback or answer any questions about these resources; please contact us at

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