Diversity and Inclusion in Emerging Markets

A number of companies across Quona’s core global markets are stepping up to prioritize diversity and inclusion among their ranks.

Creditas, the largest fintech-focused on secured lending in Brazil, serves a vastly diverse population of Brazilians. To do that means cultivating a company culture that’s as rich and diverse as the country’s population of more than 213 million. It’s a massive undertaking for a company as big as Creditas, which boasts 2,000 employees, but its founder and CEO, Sergio Furio, has prioritized diversity and inclusion through strategic recruiting, onboarding, and internal support efforts. “Companies are a critical part of the social fabric that gradually transforms society,” says Furio. “The responsibility is huge and permeates multiple areas, from education through to innovation, diversity and values.”

And Creditas is not the only one. Across Quona’s core markets — Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya, India, and Indonesia — diversity and inclusion efforts, often new territory for many of these companies, are becoming a crucial part of their growth strategy. With unique local and cultural challenges from one geography to the next, these companies are taking deliberate, participatory, and employee-based approaches to strengthen inclusivity across the board.

How Quona portfolio companies are approaching diversity and inclusion:

Identifying & Addressing Inequities

Companies are also working to create a more inclusive and flexible workplace to better support female employees simultaneously juggling parenting and careers. At NeoGrowth in India, this comes in the form of adding a work-from-home day to the schedule and providing maternity benefits for up to an additional three months over the government-mandated six months. NeoGrowth also created a “second innings for women” program targeting women who took career breaks. “The field presence required for NeoGrowth’s tech and touch model has historically been male-dominated,” says Arun Nayyar, CEO of NeoGrowth. “However, we recognize the strengths that women bring to the table, and we are focused on working to not only create an inclusive culture, supported by diversity hiring-focused training for field leadership, but also to provide flexibility where family is concerned.”

Building a Pipeline

KoinWorks, a peer-to-peer lending company in Indonesia, has put a greater focus on searching for qualified female candidates to add to the applicant pool for open positions by actively seeking them out and recruiting via LinkedIn. And South Africa-based payments startup Yoco is taking a long term view and prioritizing diversity over speed in its hiring process. The organization was forced to restructure its team due to COVID-19, leaving the engineering team without female members. The company has set an OKR to complement its hiring ambitions of having 80% of new leadership hires, and 70% of new technology hires identifying as female.

External Playbooks & Partnerships

Konfio, which offers digital banking and software to MSMEs in Mexico, leveraged its partnership with IDB Invest to create an 18-month working plan focused on increasing the diversity and inclusion of Konfio internally, and within their target market. Today, 33% of the company’s disbursed loans are to women-owned companies, a number founder and CEO David Arana is actively working to expand. With 90% of those female-run companies falling into the sole proprietor category, Konfio is taking a more deliberate approach to better suit a diverse market. “Without a doubt, it is necessary to analyze in detail the current scenario in terms of gender equity in order to propose real solutions that allow men and women to have equal opportunities and thus promote access and prosperity,” said Arana. “It’s a win-win situation at its best.”

Disclaimer: Quona portfolio companies were selected for profiles based on objective, non-performance-based criteria for the purpose of illustrating the types of investment made by Quona funds and their impacts. These profiles are being provided for illustrative purposes only, in order to provide examples of the idea generation, research, and thought process of Quona investment teams. No representation is made as to whether or if the investment ideas represented in these profiles have been or will be profitable. It should not be assumed that Quona will be able to identify similar investment opportunities in the future, or that any such opportunities will be profitable. The above statements include the opinions of the Firm and are for illustrative purposes only. There is no assurance that any trends depicted or objectives described in Quona profiles will continue or become successful.



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Quona Capital

Quona Capital is a venture firm specializing in financial technology for inclusion in emerging markets. Learn more at quona.com.