WOMEN'S WORLD BANKING PRESENTS

Fintech Innovation Challenge

Join the only women-centered Fintech Innovation Challenge for late stage fintechs. Contribute to the technology innovation that will close the gender gap in financial services.

Join us at the Making Finance Work for Women Summit #MFWW2023 in Dubai, UAE, on February 16, 2023, for the Finalist Pitch Competition.

2019 Fintech Innovation Challenge

The Challenge

In the past few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the adoption of digital financial services by women. Based on the latest Global Findex Report, for the first time in a decade, the gender gap has decreased from 9% to 6% in key emerging markets, thanks in part to an increased number of low-income women leveraging digital financial services.

Now is the time to build on this momentum and leverage digital financial services as an on-ramp for low-income women customers to adopt and use a large suite of formal financial products and services. Low-income women represent a large, untapped market opportunity for digital financial services providers, and fintechs, in particular, who can leverage technology innovation to break the persistent challenges in closing the gender gap in financial services.

The 2023 Fintech Innovation Challenge is inviting applications from fintechs pioneering innovative financial solutions that break the persistent challenges in serving the low-income women’s market.

What is the Fintech Innovation Challenge?

Through a highly competitive process, Women’s World Banking’s Fintech Innovation Challenge identifies and elevates 4 later-stage fintechs pioneering innovative financial solutions that break the persistent challenges in serving the low-income women’s market.

The Fintech Innovation Challenge attracts over 100 fintech applicants from around the world who are developing innovative products to close the gender gap in the low-income women's market.

We are looking for fintechs currently developing innovative products and solutions that address low-income women and their needs.

2019 Fintech Innovation Challenge
FINTECH INNOVATION Challenge

What Sets Us Apart?

1

Women-Centered

Exclusive focus on solutions that aim to close the gender gap for women

2

Growth Potential

Access to major investor and partnership opportunities to foster growth potential

3

Later-Stage Fintechs

Emphasis on attracting later-stage fintechs, rather than start-ups

4

Expert Judging Panel

Diverse judging panel of industry experts in fintech, financial inclusion, banking and venture capital

5

Access to Broader Community

Opportunity to join and engage with the broader women's financial inclusion community, such as Women’s World Banking Global Network

WHO SHOULD APPLY?

We invite fintechs who fit the following criteria to apply:

Woman Looking at Laptop

1

Leveraging Technology for Women

You are a fintech leveraging technology to provide financial solutions for underserved, low-income women.

2

Serving Emerging Markets

Your focus is on serving customers in emerging markets.

3

Preparing for Series A or Later

Your fintech is preparing for Series A or later and can demonstrate a minimum viable product and a path to profitability.

THE FINTECH INNOVATION CHALLENGE

Past Fintech Innovation Challenge Winners

PULA
TymeBank
afore
Boost Capital
People’s Pension Trust
myAGRO
#MFWW2023

Important Dates

AUGUST 3, 2022

Applications Open

SEPTEMBER 15, 2022

Applications Close

OCTOBER 26, 2022

Top 12 Finalists and Female Founders Circle Notified

DECEMBER 15, 2022

Pitch Day Judges Announced

JANUARY 9, 2023

Four Finalists Announced

FEBRUARY 16, 2023

Fintech Innovation Challenge Live in Dubai

Selection Criteria

Scale Potential

  • Solution has a clear growth strategy to reach low-income women customers at scale

Product Innovation

  • Solution addresses a systemic market barrier in the access to and/or usage of financial products and services for low-income women in a unique way

Financial Viability

  • Business model demonstrates a clear path to profitability

Gender Inclusive Solution

  • Solution aims to close the gender gap by increasing low-income women’s access and/or usage of financial products and services
  • Solution improves the financial lives of low-income women and their families

Team Experience and Diversity

  • Team has relevant experience to support the inclusive growth and success of the solution
  • Team demonstrates a commitment to gender inclusivity through a diverse team composition and inclusive policies

Prizes

The four finalists and grand prize winner will be awarded mentorships, personalized UX design and investor consultations, membership to exclusive networks and priority access to fintech events attended by investors and partners around the world.

Judge
Prizes

Four Finalists

  • Invitation to pitch your solution at Women’s World Banking’s Fintech Innovation Challenge in February 2023 in Dubai as part of the Making Finance Work for Women Summit
  • Invitation to join Women’s World Banking Global Network, with one-year complementary membership
  • Fast tracked application to Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship's Accelerator at Santa Clara University focusing on women’s economic empowerment and climate resilience, which features:
    • Access to a Silicon Valley network of 300+ mentors
    • An average of $750K in investments raised 3-years post-accelerator
  • Exclusive pitch advisory session with Women’s World Banking Asset Management team
  • Priority access to UX design consultation with an industry expert
  • Invitation to attend the Making Finance Work for Women Summit in Dubai and leverage networking opportunities with 300+ high-profile global stakeholders in financial services, fintech and financial inclusion

Grand Prize Winner

  • Priority access to key 2023 fintech-investor networking events powered by Elevandi, such as Point Zero, Elevandi Connects and/or the Singapore Fintech Festival
  • Priority access to Women’s World Banking’s global PR firm, Porter Novelli, to help develop strong media presence and drive visibility and exposure
  • Invitation as a featured speaker at a Women’s World Banking Making Finance Work for Women thought leadership event
Finalists
Founders
AUTOMATIC MEMBERSHIP

Female Founders Circle

For the first time ever, we are forming the Female Founders Circle. All female-founded fintechs that make it to the Top 12 will be granted automatic membership into this premier group.

The Female Founders Circle is an exclusive network of like-minded female-founded fintechs that will have full access to Women’s World Banking’s global PR firm, Porter Novelli, helping them achieve new levels of visibility and exposure.

PITCH DAY

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Finalists will be given their own booth and area on the show floor to engage key stakeholders and conference attendees and showcase their product!

On February 16, finalists will deliver live pitches, followed by a Shark Tank-style engagement in front of our panel of esteemed judges. The Grand Prize winner will be announced at the close of the Making Finance Work for Women Summit.

Pitch Day

Our Advisory Committee

The Women’s World Banking FIC Advisory Committee will evaluate applications and select finalists.

Ade Ashaye

Regional Head, Africa

Christina (CJ) Juhasz

Chief Investment Officer, Emerging Market Funds

J. Thomas Jones

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Jacquie Amacher

Director of Communications & Marketing

Marina Dimova

Director, Global Head of Financial Industry & Network Advocacy

Nithyasri Sharma

Director, Global Strategy

Sponsor the Fintech Innovation Challenge

We are seeking sponsors for the Fintech Innovation Challenge. This is a unique opportunity to promote women’s economic empowerment by fostering innovative technology that will empower unbanked and underserved women with the financial tools they need to achieve security and prosperity.

2019 Fintech Innovation Challenge
SPONSORSHIP BENEFITS

Why Sponsor the 2023 Fintech Innovation Challenge?

Brand Recognition

Recognition and logo on all 2023 Making Finance Work for Women Virtual Thought Leadership Series, Summit, and Fintech Innovation Challenge promotional emails and websites

Judging

Judging Role on Challenge judging panel or speaking role at Making Finance Work for Women Summit in Dubai or 2023 Thought Leadership Series virtual event.

Social Media Reach

Social media handles tagged in Challenge promotional posts, reaching Women’s World Banking’s 81,000 social media following

Tickets

Tickets for sponsor clients or employees to attend Making Finance Work for Women Summit and Challenge pitch session in Dubai (February 15th – 16th)

Brown Bag

Brown bag or fireside chat event at company office featuring Women’s World Banking leadership team member

Press Release

Opportunity to be part of Challenge press release

Mentor

Opportunity for employees to mentor Challenge finalists

ROI

Sponsorship benefit fulfillment recap report and support measuring ROI

Background

  • What is the Fintech Innovation Challenge?

    In the past few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the adoption of digital financial services by women. Based on the latest Global Findex Report, for the first time in a decade, the gender gap has decreased from 9% to 6% in key emerging markets, thanks in part to an increased number of low-income women leveraging digital financial services.

    Now is the time to build on this momentum and leverage digital financial services as an on-ramp for low-income women customers to adopt and use a large suite of formal financial products and services. Low-income women represent a large, untapped market opportunity for digital financial services providers, and fintechs, in particular, who can leverage technology innovation to break the persistent challenges in closing the gender gap in financial services.

    The 2023 Fintech Innovation Challenge is inviting applications from later-stage fintechs pioneering innovative financial solutions that break the persistent challenges in serving the low-income women’s market.

  • What is the theme for this year’s competition?

    The theme for this year’s competition is Breaking the Challenges in Serving the Low-Income Women’s Market. The 2023 Fintech Innovation Challenge is welcoming applications for innovative financial solutions that break the persistent challenges in serving the low-income women’s market. Entry categories include, but are not limited to:

    Sending and receiving money

    Credit for women-led MSMEs

    Safety net products (insurance, savings and pensions)

    Beyond money (financial and digital capabilities, and other business support services)

  • When and where will the Pitch Competition be held?

    Finalists will participate in a pitch competition with a panel of distinguished industry judges at the Women’s World Banking Making Finance Work for Women Summit in Dubai on February 16, 2023, where the Grand Prize winner will be announced.

Important Dates

  • What are the important dates?

    AUGUST 3, 2022
    Applications Open

    SEPTEMBER 15, 2022
    Applications Close

    OCTOBER 26, 2022
    Top 12 Finalists and Female Founders Circle Notified

    DECEMBER 15, 2022
    Pitch Day Judges Announced

    JANUARY 9, 2023
    Four Finalists Announced

    FEBRUARY 16, 2023
    Fintech Innovation Challenge Live in Dubai

Applying

  • Who should apply?

    You should apply if your fintech meets the following criteria:

    You are a fintech leveraging technology to provide financial solutions for underserved, low-income women. Solutions do not need to be exclusively for women but should demonstrate a deliberate intent to close the gender gap in financial services.

    Your focus is on serving customers in emerging markets.

    Your fintech is preparing for Series A or later and can demonstrate a minimum viable product and a path to profitability.

  • How are the finalists and Grand Prize winner selected?

    Applicants will be evaluated based on how well their solution addresses the following criteria:

    Gender Inclusive Solution

    Solution aims to close the gender gap by increasing low-income women’s access and/or usage of financial products and services 

    Solution improves the financial lives of low-income women and their families

    Product Innovation

    Solution addresses a systemic market barrier in the access to and/or usage of financial products and services for low-income women in a unique way

    Financial Viability

    Business model demonstrates a clear path to profitability

    Scale Potential

    Solution has a clear growth strategy to reach low-income women customers at scale

    Team Experience and Diversity

    Team has relevant experience to support the inclusive growth and success of the solution

    Team demonstrates a commitment to gender inclusivity through a diverse team composition and inclusive policies

  • How do I apply?

    To apply for the Fintech Innovation Challenge, you should submit an online application by September 15, 2022. The application period closes at 11:59pm EDT on September 15, 2022.

  • Is there an application fee?

    The application for the Fintech Innovation Challenge is free and open to all. There is no application fee for the Fintech Innovation Challenge.

  • How long does the application take to complete?

    The application should take no longer than an hour to complete. You will be able to save your progress on the online application at any time and complete your application at your convenience.

  • I’ve submitted my application. What do I do now?

    Once you’ve submitted your application, no further action is needed from you. You will be notified via email whether you have been selected for the Top 12 finalists on October 26, 2022.

  • I have more questions. Who should I contact?

    Please contact us at fintechchallenge@womensworldbanking.org for any further questions.

2023 Sponsors

LEADING

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

SCALING

Dubai International Finance Center

ADVANCING

EY Making a Better World

We are grateful for the ongoing support of our core funders for enabling our strategy.

PRIZES PROVIDED BY

Elevandi
Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship