Making Finance Work for Women

Fintech Innovation Challenge 2020

Applications Closed

Meet the finalists taking on the challenge for a more gender inclusive world.


Announcement coming soon!

These finalists will present at the virtual Making Finance Work for Women Summittaking place between 10:45 AM - 4:00 PM EDT on October 20th & 21st.

1 billion women around the world do not have access to financial services, and there is a 9% gender gap in financial access across emerging markets. Furthermore, women are particularly vulnerable to global health and economic shocks, increasing the need to support their resilience and recovery in these challenge times. Women’s World Banking wants to identify Fintech innovations providing unbanked and underserved women with access to financial services in order to build their security and prosperity in the face of these global economic uncertainties.


Fintechs must submit solutions in either of one of two categories:

Build Security and Resiliency

How might we enable unbanked and underserved women to build resilience through convenient, secure, and reliable access to safety nets (i.e. funds for emergencies) to help mitigate against global shocks?


Build Economic Prosperity

How might we enable unbanked and underserved women to expand their income-generating activities to build their business and household income and support economic recovery after global shocks?


Finalists Receive

Applications Closed

“Thank you for the amazing platform to share our work, and engage partners to innovate and scale in the future! It was the perfect theme, perfect audience, perfect ways to showcase, and perfect outcomes – thanks to you, we have possible long-term partnerships with several stakeholders, and I am so happy to become a Network Member, and definitely plan to optimize the value as much as possible.”
– 2019 Fintech Challenge Finalist

The Fintech Innovation Challenge was launched in 2019, during the Making Finance Work for Women Summit in Singapore. We were thrilled that our two Grand Prize winners, Aflore and Pula, went on to compete at the Global FinTech Hackcelerator at the Singapore FinTech Festival, where Pula was one of the top three winners! See highlights from last year’s challenge.

    • Startup Fintechs based anywhere that are leveraging technology to provide financial services for unbanked and underserved women in emerging markets. Solutions do not need to be exclusively for unbanked and underserved women but must show deliberate intent to be inclusive of reaching the segment.


    • Applicants can be pre-revenue but must demonstrate a viable value proposition to reach unbanked and underserved women.


    • Solutions should focus on building women’s security or prosperity, particularly in supporting resilience and recovery from global economic shocks.


    • Fintechs should also demonstrate a commitment to developing women leaders through the presence of women in their senior management team and Board of Directors.
Applications Closed


A panel of diverse industry experts will judge the finalists at the virtual Making Finance Work for Women Summit.

Mary Ellen Iskenderian

President & CEO
Women's World Banking

Otto Williams

Head of Strategic Partnerships, FinTechs and Ventures for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA)

Pat Patel

Principal Executive Officer
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

Monica Brand Engel

Co-founder & Partner
Quona Capital

Katharine Budd

Co-founder & CEO
NOW Money

Jan Bellens

Global Banking & Capital Markets Sector Leader
Ernst & Young

Check back for updates!

Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee will evaluate applications and select finalists.

Sriram Jagannathan

Country Director, India
Women’s World Banking

Karen Miller

Global Head, Leadership & Diversity Programs
Women’s World Banking

Ade Ashaye

Executive Vice President, Network
Women’s World Banking

Christina (CJ) Juhasz

Chief Investment Officer
Women’s World Banking Asset Management

Seema Patel

Sr. Director, Social Impact

Applications Closed

Women’s World Banking will support innovations in digital financial solutions that are designed to increase unbanked and underserved women’s access to and usage of financial solutions so that they may achieve security and prosperity.

Selection Criteria


  • How many unbanked and underserved women do you reach through your solution?
  • What strategies are you deploying to reach unbanked and underserved women?


  • What systemic barriers for unbanked and underserved women does the solution address?


  • Can you demonstrate a path to financial sustainability?


  • Can you clearly demonstrate how this solution will scale across markets?


  • “How might your solution empower your
    unbanked and underserved woman customer?


  • Are you employing best practices in
    consumer protection and transparency?



Applications Open

Applications are submitted through online form.


Application Deadline

Applications must be submitted no later than June 15th.


Shortlist Candidates

The Advisory Panel will review applications and select a shortlist of applicants for second round interviews.  


Finalists Announced

Finalists will have the opportunity to receive mentoring to refine their solution and pitch.


Winners Announced

Finalists will pitch to a panel of judges at the virtual Making Finance Work for Women.


Global FinTech Hackcelerator

Winners of Making Finance Work for Women Fintech Innovation Challenge will move on as finalists at the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Global Fintech Hackelerator at the Singapore FinTech Festival.

Applications Closed

We are currently seeking sponsors for the Making Finance Work for Women Fintech Innovation Challenge. This is a unique opportunity to promote financial inclusion by fostering innovative technology that will empower unbanked and underserved women with the financial tools they need to achieve security and prosperity.

Tickets Tickets to Making Finance Work for Women Virtual Summit. Publicity Recognition & logo on all Fintech Innovation Challenge publicity materials. Press Opportunity to be part of pre and post-challenge press releases. And more And more!

Reach out to Molly Burns at today to secure your spot.

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Have questions? Please contact Nithyasri Sharma at