The competition invites applications from later-stage fintechs pioneering innovative financial solutions for the low-income women’s market; the finalists and the winner will have access to the best fintech networks and resources

NEW YORK, August 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Women’s World Banking today announced the 2023 Fintech Innovation Challenge, a global competition to highlight and propose solutions to close the gender gap through digital financial services. Now in its fourth year and the only female-centric fintech competition, the Challenge will provide a platform for later-stage fintechs working to address persistent challenges to serve the low-income female market.

(PRNewsfoto/United Nations Capital Development Fund, Women’s World Banking)

According the latest Global Findex report, the number of women adopting digital financial services has increased significantly since 2017, with the gender gap narrowing from 9% to 6% in major emerging markets. But despite these advances, 742 million women are still excluded from the formal financial sector, and women are 31% more likely than men to have an inactive bank account.

Digital financial services can serve as an on-ramp for low-income women to adopt and use a wide range of formal financial products and services, expanding women’s choices as well as their financial and economic resilience and empowerment. Low-income women represent a significant untapped market opportunity for digital financial service providers, especially fintechs that are leveraging technology to close the gender gap in financial services.

“To deliver on the promise of inclusive growth for the global economy, women need equal access to financial products, services, skills and technology,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. “Fintechs are uniquely positioned to help bridge the digital financial services divide, as they have the ability to deliver products and services differently and can effectively meet the needs of low-income women in ways that financial providers traditional financial services cannot or will not.”

Applications for the Challenge will be open from August 3 to September 15. Entry categories include, but are not limited to:

  • Send and receive money

  • Credit for women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)

  • Safety net products (insurance, savings and retirement)

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

The top four Challenge finalists will participate in an in-person pitch competition next February at dubaiand be accelerated to participate in the Women’s Economic Empowerment Accelerator, powered by the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. They will also receive pitch advice and UX design consultation. The grand prize winner will get access to key 2023 fintech events like Point Zero, Elevandi Connects and the Singapore Fintech Festival, as well as an invitation to speak at a Women’s World Banking Putting finance at the service of women an event.

All female-founded fintechs that rank among the top 12 in the competition will be selected for the first-ever Female Founders Circle, an exclusive network of like-minded female-founded fintechs, and will be promoted through strong integrated communication, marketing and media campaign.

“Participating in the Women’s World Banking Fintech Innovation Challenge made us learn more deeply about how we can better serve our female clients,” said Rachel FreemanChief Growth Officer at Tyme, winner of the 2020 Fintech Innovation Challenge. judges who helped us refine our proposal.”

The top twelve finalists and Founders’ Circle participants will be announced on October 26with the top four finalists announced on January 9, 2023. The winner of the Fintech Innovation Challenge Grand Prize will be announced in dubaion February 16, 2023 following the pitch competition.

The Fintech Innovation Challenge is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Lead Sponsor) and Ernst & Young LLP (EY US and advanced sponsor). The main funders of Women’s World Banking are australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and Visa Foundation.

About Women’s World Bank

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 communities. With a global network of 62 financial service providers in 35 countries serving more than 138 million female customers, Women’s World Banking makes an impact through its scalable, market-driven solutions; gender-focused private equity funds; and leadership and diversity programs. To learn more, visit

Media Contact: Kelsey Thompson: [email protected]



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SOURCE Women’s World Bank