Fintechs that Serve Unbanked and Underserved Women Encouraged to Apply

NEW YORK – Today, Women’s World Banking announced that the application period is now open for the 2021 Fintech Innovation Challenge, a global competition that aims to highlight fintech innovations serving unbanked and underserved women in order to build women’s security and prosperity in the face of global inequalities.

Startup fintechs based anywhere in the world that provide financial services for unbanked and underserved women in emerging markets are encouraged to apply. Solutions do not need to be exclusively for unbanked and underserved women but must show deliberate intent to be inclusive of reaching that segment of the population.

“Now more than ever, fintechs are a crucial driver of women’s financial inclusion. Fintechs represent such an exciting opportunity to make real progress in closing the gender gap and make finance work for women. Fintechs are innovative, disruptive, solving problems with their communities in mind, in a digital way – exactly the criteria that a complex problem like women’s financial exclusion needs,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, the President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, a global organization that designs and invests in the financial solutions, institutions, and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities. She continued, “Our fintech challenge, now in its third year, has quickly established itself on the global calendar through its relationships with innovators and participating fintech founders, and we are looking forward to the innovative entries this year.”

Fintech companies can apply in one of two categories:

  • Building Security and Resilience: How might we enable unbanked and underserved women to build resilience through convenient, secure, and reliable access to safety nets to ensure greater equality in a post-COVID-19 world?
  • Build Economic Prosperity: How might we enable unbanked and underserved women to build their business and household income and drive economic growth to ensure greater equality in a post-COVID-19 world?

Winners for the Fintech Innovation Challenge will be announced in October, and will receive a slate of exciting, new prizes, including a customized UX design guidance session furnished by Visa Inc., an exclusive pitch meeting and feedback session with Women’s World Banking Asset Management Team., and four 1:1 leadership coaching and feedback sessions with one of Women’s World Banking’s executive coaches.

Women’s World Banking also announced today that this year, it will be adding a new award to the annual Fintech Innovation event: the Female Founder Award, which will honor a female founder whose fintech qualifies for the Fintech Innovation Challenge, and who demonstrates exemplary leadership in building an inclusive workplace while working as a crucial driver for women’s financial inclusion.

“Research shows that the number of global fintech founders is still dominated by men, with women founders making up just 7% of the total. This tracks with the lack of female participation across the financial and regulatory sectors, and leads to further disenfranchisement of women. We want to ensure that fintech does not follow the same path of building gender bias into its infrastructure by highlighting and celebrating the innovative women at the forefront of the future of financial services. It’s time for innovative women founders to be recognized and celebrated,” said Iskenderian.

Women’s World Banking would like to thank Ernst & Young LLP for their sponsorship of the Fintech Innovation Challenge as well as core funders Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for their ongoing support of our work.

For more information on the Fintech Innovation Challenge and the Female Founder Award, please visit the website.

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About Women’s World Banking 

Women’s World Banking designs and invests in financial solutions, institutions, and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities. With a global reach of 56 partners in 31 countries serving more than 69 million women clients, 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 about Women’s World Banking, visit womensworldbanking.org.

Contact:
Holly Shulman
holly.shulman@gmail.com
(202) 674-8757