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Fintech Innovation Challenge invites entries focused on the low-income women’s market

The non-profit looks to reward companies that are working on solutions to the problem of the global gender gap in financial services.

a woman smiling for the camera

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking,

The non-profit organisation Women’s World Banking is running a competition for solutions that look to solve the global gender gap in financial services. 

The 2023 Fintech Innovation Challenge, now in its fourth year, is now accepting entries until 15 September 2022.

You are allowed to apply if your fintech is: leveraging technology to provide financial solutions for underserved and low-income women, is focused on emerging markets, and is either preparing for a Series A or later or can demonstrate a minimum viable product and a path to profitability.

Solutions do not need to be exclusively for women but should demonstrate a deliberate intent to close the gender gap in financial services.

The competition is free and entering reportedly takes about one hour. 

The four finalists and grand prize winners will be awarded mentorships, personalized UX design, and investor consultations, as well as membership to exclusive networks and priority access to fintech events.

In addition, the top four finalists will participate in an in-person pitch competition next February in Dubai, and be fast-tracked for participation in the Women’s Economic Empowerment Accelerator, powered by the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.

Despite being a non-profit, the competition’s partner investing funds, Women's World Banking Capital Partners Funds I and II, have a strong footprint in the world of emerging markets.

Most recently in August 2022, Women's World Banking Capital Partners participated in the $11m pre-Series A funding round raised by African embedded finance fintech Pezesha.

Statistics would show competitions like these focus on a very real problem. 

Over 1 billion women still do not use or have access to the financial system, according to the World Bank Group’s latest Global Findex report.

In addition, the IFC estimate that a $300bn gap in financing exists for formal, women-owned small businesses worldwide, and more than 70 per cent of women-owned small and medium enterprises have inadequate or no access to financial services.

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