Making Finance Work for Women

FinTech Innovation Challenge

Nearly 1 billion women around the world do not have access to formal financial services and an additional 340 million women are underserved.

Join Us October 22nd and 23rd To Find Out Who Won

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.

Women’s World Banking will support standout FinTech innovators helping unbanked and underserved women access financial services in order to build security and prosperity.

Solutions Must:

Build Security

Provide unbanked or underserved women with convenient, secure and reliable access to safety nets (i.e., funds for emergencies) to help them mitigate against economic shocks by overcoming key barriers (e.g., lack of trust and awareness, distance / mobility constraints).

Build Economic Prosperity

Support unbanked or underserved women to expand income-generating activities and help build their business and household income by overcoming key barriers (e.g., collateral, distance / mobility constraints, or lack of business training).

Finalists Receive:

  • Invitation to present at Women’s World Banking’s Making Finance Work for Women biennial Summit in October 2019 in Singapore, which convenes over 300 global leaders from the financial services, investor, philanthropy, policy and technology communities. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered.

  • Connection to potential investors (including WWB Asset Management)

  • Access to 1 year of membership into the Women’s World Banking Network of Partners

Grand Prize:

  • Entry as a finalist to the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Global FinTech Hackcelerator Demo Day at the Singapore FinTech Festival (powered by KPMG Digital Village) and be fast-tracked to receive an S$200,000 MAS Proof-of-Concept Grant. The top 3 winners of the MAS Global FinTech Hackcelerator will also get an additional S$50,000 cash prize.

  • Tuition coverage for a pair of leaders (senior executive (male or female) and high potential woman leader) to attend the 2020 Leadership and Diversity for Innovation Program together*

*Acceptance into Women’s World Banking’s Leadership and Diversity Program is contingent upon meeting the program’s entry requirements. Travel costs not covered.

In Partnership with Global FinTech Hackcelerator

Who Should Apply

  • Startup FinTechs (minimum 1 year in operation) 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.

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

In partnership with

Meet Our Judges

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

Mary Ellen Iskenderian

Mary Ellen Iskenderian

President and CEO, Women’s World Banking

David Kim

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

Pat Patel

Principal Executive Officer, FinTech & Innovation Group, Monetary Authority of Singapore

Lotte Schou-Zibell

Chief, Finance Sector Group, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank

Shuyin Tang

Partner, Patamar Capital

Umair Hameed

Partner, Financial Services, KPMG Singapore

Meet Our Advisory Panel

Our advisory panel will review and shortlist applicants for interviews and ultimately select the finalists.

Chia Tek Yew

Head, Financial Services Advisory, KPMG Singapore

Christina (CJ) Juhasz

Chief Investment Officer, Women’s World Banking

Sriraman Jagannathan

Country Representative, India, Women’s World Banking

In partnership with

Increasing access and usage

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.

Our 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 profitability?


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


  • How does the solution empower your unbanked and underserved woman customer?


  • Are you employing best practices in consumer protection?


MAY 27

Applications Open

Applications are submitted through online form. 


Application Deadline

Applications must be submitted no later than June 30.  


Shortlist Candidates Selected

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


Finalists Announced

Top 3 finalists announced. Finalists will receive mentoring to refine their solution and create a prototype of their solution.


Winner Announced

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

NOVEMBER 11 – 15

Global FinTech Hackelerator

Winner of Women’s World Banking FinTech Innovation Challenge will move on as a finalist at the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Global Fintech Hackelerator Demo Day at the Singapore FinTech Festival.

In partnership with

We are seeking partners to serve as co-hosts 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.


Have questions about sponsorship? Please contact Molly Burns at

By partnering with startup FinTechs early in their lifecycle, we hope to influence them to maintain and grow their focus on low-income women customers.

Made possible by the generous support of our sponsors

Have questions? Please contact Nithyasri Sharma at