Making Finance Work for Women

Fintech Innovation Challenge 2020

Meet the 2020 Winners!

Tyme is a digital banking group focused on financially empowering underserved consumers and small businesses through digital banking in emerging markets. The Tyme group of companies consists of TymeBank South Africa currently headquartered in South Africa and TymeGlobal, with offices in Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh. TymeGlobal deploys its operational experience and technology to launch new digital banks in ASEAN, based on its experience in South Africa.

The first full deployment, TymeBank South Africa, is a fully licensed greenfield digital bank, launched in February 2019. Since then, TymeBank has acquired 2 million bank customers in 17 months of operation, making it the world’s fastest growing independent digital bank. More than 50% of its customer base are active each month, and its deposits have been growing at approximately 10% per month over the past 12 months, with fastest growth among women clients.

myAgro is an award-winning non-profit social enterprise that supports small-scale farmers to pay for fertilizer, seed and technical training using myAgro’s unique mobile layaway financial tool. The exclusion of women from participating fully in the agricultural economy means that farm families face many constraints to breaking free from poverty. myAgro’s model was created with empowering women in mind: 60-70% of the small farmers myAgro supports are women.

myAgro’s innovation provides an alternative to credit (mobile layaway) to women who are not eligible for bank financing. myAgro’s three-tiered approach of mobile layaway, input delivery, and tailored agricultural training has resulted in 50-100% increases in yields and 50%+ increases in farm incomes, transforming the lives of participating farmers in Mali, Senegal and Tanzania.

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 challenging 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

“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.


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)

Victoria Griffith

Program Officer, Financial Services for the Poor
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Katharine Budd

Co-founder & CEO
NOW Money

Sara Elinson

Principal, Americas Strategy & Transactions FinTech 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

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.

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.

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

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Have questions? Please contact Nithyasri Sharma at