Women’s World Banking announces finalists for second annual Making Finance Work for Women Fintech Innovation Challenge

September 24, 2020
Press Release

NEW YORK, September 24, 2020 – Women’s World Banking is pleased to announce the four finalists of its second annual Making Finance Work for Women Fintech Innovation Challenge. The finalists, chosen from a record-breaking pool of competitive and diverse applicants, represent an exciting new wave of innovative solutions designed to support low-income women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion. This year’s finalists are: Boost Capital, Mujer Financiera, myAgro, and Tyme.

The Making Finance Work for Women Fintech Innovation Challenge is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ernst & Young LLP (EY), and Novi. The four finalists will receive membership in the Women’s World Banking’s Network of Partners and will present to a panel of judges and the audience at Women’s World Banking’s flagship Making Finance Work for Women Summit, which is made possible through the support of the Visa Foundation, to be held virtually on October 20th and 21st, 2020. In attendance at the Summit will be over 300 leaders from the financial services, investor, and philanthropy sectors. The judges will vote to select two Grand Prize Winners, who will compete as finalists in the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Global FinTech Hackcelerator (powered by KPMG Digital Village) during the Singapore FinTech Festival in December 2020. They will also be fast-tracked to receive a MAS Proof-of-Concept Grant worth up to S$200,000 and compete for a S$50,000 cash prize. These two Grand Prize Winners will also receive tuition coverage for two participants in Women’s World Banking’s next Leadership and Diversity for Innovation Program, which equips senior executives in emerging markets with the skills to successfully serve low-income women and advance women leaders within their institutions.

“I was inspired by the quality and sheer number of applications this year,” noted Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. “Low-income women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID crisis, facing higher rates of unemployment, bearing an outsized burden of child care and other household responsibilities, and even confronting unprecedented levels of domestic violence. This year’s applicants – of which 62% (74 solutions) were co-founded and/or had women in a C-suite position – left me full of hope for the future of the role that fintech can play in women’s financial inclusion and, ultimately, their economic empowerment.”

For more information on the challenge and to purchase tickets for the Making Finance Work for Women Summit, please visit: womensworldbanking.org/making-finance-work-for-women-2020/

About the Finalists

Boost Capital offers microfinance technology that enables loans through smartphones in Southeast Asia. The company’s technology interviews customers through chatbot, credit scores them, and offers loans – all digitally. Boost Capital’s vision is to make it cheaper and easier for people globally to access microfinance services utilizing technology. The company has already reached over 50,000 customers in its launch market of Cambodia and has integrated financial literacy content into the product and marketing to ensure that customers can safely take charge of their financial lives.

Mujer Financiera is a startup with the main goal of increasing women’s financial inclusion through education and technology. After training over 20,000 women in different countries of Latin America on financial education issues, Mujer Financiera developed a data profiling model that allows it to identify content for women that will have the greatest impact on their finances.

By scaling this model, Mujer Financiera developed Felicity, the first finance social network for women, which blends technology, education, community, and access to financial services. Using Felicity, women can access custom financial content through machine learning and manage their personal finance through Personal Finance Management (PFM). After training, women are able to connect with banks and fintechs to acquire financial services according to their specific needs. 

myAgro provides an alternative to credit to women who are not eligible for bank financing and helps them 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 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.

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.



About Women’s World Banking

 Women’s World Banking 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. With a global reach of 51 partners in 28 countries serving more than 67 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.

Media Contacts

Kate Stence ks@womensworldbanking.org

Andy Woolnough aw@womensworldbanking.org