Athena’s Advisory Services
Niche advisory services to financial intermediaries, and around financial inclusion, built upon extensive global impact investing experience.
Who We Are
Through high-quality, experience-based advisory services Athena helps clients develop strategies for inclusive impact investing. We work with the private sector, donors, investors and publicly funded organizations.
What sets us apart is that we are not just advisors, we are practitioners, actively deploying capital to women-led and environmentally sustainable SMEs through our lending platform BIDUK in Indonesia as well as initiating track record investments in Africa.
Our advisory work stems from hands-on experience lending to SMEs. This means we understand their realities and their pain points. We also understand the challenges and realities that financial intermediaries face, as well as the various stakeholders in the ecosystem for access to finance for entrepreneurs. Our experience is built upon decades of work with SMEs in 50+ countries, including dozens of financial intermediary and investor clients on 5 continents.
We leverage our real-world experience to support to impact investors and financial inclusion projects. Our global presence and decades of experience allow us to provide our clients with best practices and nuanced, success-based, insights to deliver commercially oriented solutions with positive social and environmental impact. Examples of some our client work can be found here.
What We Do
Athena engages with clients as co-collaborators to tackle tough impact investing challenges that require innovation, brainpower and out-of-the-box thinking. Our focus is on long-term productive outcomes, rather than outputs.
We work at the nexus of social entrepreneurs and impact investors, narrowing the gap between innovative ideas and access to capital. Athena strives to bring creative and positively disruptive solutions to those businesses, ideas, and products that have been left out of the traditional financing space.
Advisory projects typically fall into the following three categories:
Technical Implementation Advisory
Impact Management & Measurement
Strategic & Thought Leadership
Areas of Expertise
Investing For Diversity & Inclusion
In our experience, diverse and inclusive teams (gender, race, ethnicity, experiences) tend to make better decisions in the long run, which extends to investment and business decisions. We work to build an evidence base to quantify and better understand this observation.
Structuring Impact Investment Vehicles (Debt and Equity)
To create systemic change, we focus on using financial tools to create specific, positive change for sectors and populations typically under-represented or locked out of traditional financing.
Our goal is to increase the voice and agency of women. We use participatory approaches that include focusing on valuing equity in projects and creating and nurturing equitable partnerships in order to create win-win structures.
Gender Lens Investing (GLI)
The intentional act of making investment decisions and adopting processes and policies because it will have a positive effect on women, girls, or gender equity
Financial Institution Risk Management
Our approach focuses on resilience, meaning we actively identify risks across a variety of spheres, and work to proactively mitigate those risks.
Small & Growing Businesses (SGB)
Our support services for small businesses and the organizations that fund SGB are founded in the notion that SGB are a huge driver of economic growth that are often misunderstood by banks. By providing appropriate products and services for this sector, we can catalyze a critial component to economic growth and resilience.
Gender As A Cross-Cutting Initiative
Women are half the world’s population; therefore, we embed gender equity into our work across a variety of functional areas like climate, energy, and agriculture.
Impact Investing Advisory to Use Finance as a Tool for Change
We focus on advancing commercially viable projects and investments to support narrowing the gap in access and utilization of financial services for vulnerable populations.
Developing Climate & Gender Oriented Products for Financial Intermediaries
Athena is selective about the projects and clients we support, choosing to focus on advancing commercially viable projects and investments that narrow the gap in access to and utilization of financial services for underserved populations.
Examples of Athena Advisors project outcomes include:
- Developing gender equitable segmentation strategies, products, and distribution channels to capture the market opportunity for an underserved segment.
- Creating healthy ecosystems for entrepreneurship to ensure SMEs are at the center of resilient economic growth.
- Gathering evidence to show that high-performing teams are equitable and diverse to make better decisions.
- Building investment instruments that address systemic bias and use finance as a tool for social good.
- Value catalytic social and financial impact beyond counting outputs.
Our Partners and Clients
Athena’s Work to Embed Gender Equitable Outcomes with Impact Linked Carry
Highlights from our work with a Gender-Leading, Early-Stage, Tech-Focused Impact Fund. This includes synthesis of current impact-linked carry practices, identification and selection of gender impact metrics, and the development of a quantitative carry model.
Utilizing a Team of Highly Technical Consultants
The Athena business model is intentionally lean. We choose to utilize a highly vetted roster of experienced consultants to build customized, competent, skill-specific and region-specific teams for projects. Learn more about our team here.
Athena Global is a US-based firm, with minimal US presence. We endeavor to:
1. Staff projects with people and teams based in the geographies where we have projects, and from the markets where we work, as much as possible.
2. Capitalize and showcase talent in the markets we serve, minimizing fly in/fly out approaches.
3. Provide quality for our clients by leveraging global expertise adapted to the local context.
For a sampling of our projects, click here.