Competition later invites fintechs cutting-edge innovative financial solutions for the low-income market for women to apply; finalists and winners to gain access to premier fintech networks and resources
NEW YORK, 3 August 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Women’s World Banking today announced the Fintech Innovation Challenge 2023, a global competition to highlight and promote solutions to close the gender gap through digital financial services. Now in its fourth year and the only women-centric fintech competition, the challenge will provide a platform for up-and-coming fintechs working to address the persistent challenges in serving the low-income female market.
According to the latest Global Findex report, the number of women adopting digital financial services has increased dramatically since 2017, and the gender gap has decreased from 9% to 6% in key emerging markets. But despite these advances, 742 million women are still excluded from the formal financial sector, and women are 31% more likely than men to have an inactive bank account.
Digital financial services can serve as a ramp for low-income women to adopt and use a large suite of formal financial products and services, expanding women’s choices and their financial and economic resilience and empowerment. Low-income women represent a large, untapped market opportunity for digital financial service providers, especially fintechs that leverage technology to close the gender gap in financial services.
“To achieve the promise of inclusive growth for the global economy, women need equal access to financial products, services, skills and technology,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. “Fintechs are uniquely positioned to help close the gap over digital financial services because they have the ability to offer products and services differently and can effectively meet the needs of low-income women in ways that traditional financial service providers cannot or will not.”
Applications for the challenge will be open from 3 August to 15 September. Enrollment categories include, but are not limited to:
- Send and receive money
- Credit for women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)
- Safety net products (insurance, savings and pension)
- Beyond money (financial and digital capabilities and other business support services)
The four best finalists in the Challenge will take part in a personal pitch competition next February i Dubaiand be fast-tracked for participation in the Women’s Economic Empowerment Accelerator, run by the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. They will also receive pitch advice and a UX design consultation. The grand prize winner will receive access to key fintech events in 2023 such as Point Zero, Elevandi Connects and the Singapore Fintech Festival, as well as an invitation to be a speaker at a World Banking for Women Making finance work for women event.
All female fintechs that make it to the top 12 in the competition will be selected into the first-ever Female Founders Circle, an exclusive network of like-minded fintechs, and will be promoted through a robust integrated communications, marketing and media campaign.
“Participating in the Women’s World Banking Fintech Innovation Challenge drove us to learn more deeply how to better serve our female customers,” said Rachel FreemanChief Growth Officer at Tyme, a 2020 Fintech Innovation Challenge winner. “It gave us global recognition at a crucial time in our expansion into the Asian market and during our recent capital raising, and we received valuable feedback from the judges who helped us to to refine our proposal.”
The top twelve finalists and Female Founders Circle participants will be announced at October 26with the top four finalists announced on 9 January 2023. The winner of the Grand Prize of the Fintech Innovation Challenge will be announced in Dubaion 16 February 2023 after the pitching competition.
The Fintech Innovation Challenge is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (lead sponsor) and Ernst & Young LLP (EY US and Advancing Sponsor). Women’s World Banking’s core funders are Australia’s The Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Visa Foundation.
About Women’s World Bank Services
Women’s World Banking designs and invests in financial solutions, institutions and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater financial stability and prosperity for women, their families and their communities. With a global network reach of 62 financial services providers in 35 countries serving more than 138 million women customers, Women’s World Banking drives impact through its scalable, market-driven solutions; gender lens private equity fund; and leadership and diversity programs. To learn more visit womensworldbanking.org.
Media contact: Kelsey Thompson: [email protected]
SOURCE Women’s World Banking