Annual Summit 2021 – Day 1 Takeaways

Wednesday 27th October 2021

The Annual Summit kicked off with Alliance CEOs discussing how to build inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems. Here are three main takeaways: 

1. Sustainable economies need inclusive entrepreneurial communities to grow. Barriers to women starting and scaling businesses hold back economies. Breaking down these barriers is a multi-stakeholder effort that requires building supportive ecosystems for entrepreneurs of all stripes to thrive—inclusive of access to financing, support for care responsibilities, networks, and recognition. As detailed in our newest case study, the UK has embarked on building such an ecosystem with the Investing in Women Code. NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose, who was commissioned on the Code, said that so many financiers rallied around the Code in large part because they realized the huge economic potential in supporting women across the entrepreneurial pathway: “When you looked at the untapped potential, up to £250 billion could be added to the UK economy. That potential is sitting there and yet barriers are stopping women have the same advantage.” Watch the CEO Roundtable to hear from CEOs from leading FSPs in the network share how their institutions are thinking about the opportunity to support WSMEs through inclusive ecosystems. 

And for more on the topic of building truly inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, check out the Building the UK Code panel, Creating Angel Networks panel and Inez’s conversation on Women’s Financial Inclusion with Ratna Sahay, Senior Advisor on Gender at the IMF.

2. Collaboration between the public and private sector is key to building inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems—and will be an increasingly important part of financial inclusion policy moving forward. As we heard from Rose, “Increasing financing for female entrepreneurs takes the public and private sector working together.” This was echoed on the policy side by Marco del Río of Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission. He spoke at the Gender Data Driving Systems Change panel about Mexico’s new regulatory measures that lower capital requirements to encourage more lending to women, as well as its new gender index assessing FSPs performance in the women’s market. We expect to see more of regulatory efforts like these, as well as initiatives co-led by governments and financial services providers, such as the UK’s Investing in Women Code, to foster stronger financing environments for women and WSMEs.

3. The women’s market is growing—and high-growth subsegments represent a huge opportunity for incumbents and fintechs alike. These include the Gen-Z segment—which already controls 30 percent of the world’s spending power. As we heard from TikTok influencer Taylor Price during the Gen-Z panel, “building brand trust is the most important thing that fintechs and traditional banks can focus on” to win this brand-conscious segment. She recommended using new technology to establish connections. Another massive segment is women of wealth and mass affluent women—women currently hold 40% of the world’s wealth and are expected to control $30 trillion by 2030. In our Women of Wealth panel, LXME founder (winner of the 2021 Alliance Hack) Priti Gupta shared how her fintech is using new technology to enhance investment capabilities of mass affluent women in India. “With the democratization of digital technology, one thing we have been able to do [as a wealthtech] is to normalize money conversations for women”, she shared.

Spanish speakers, check out the Women Card Holders panel for a fascinating conversation on new research with Mastercard and Alliance member Banco Pichincha showing the massive opportunity for women in cards.

The bottom line: The momentum behind inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems is growing globally, with FSPs and policymakers using data to drive action that helps strengthen economies. And committed ecosystem leaders are not letting their foot off the pedal. In the words of Rose: “We have to recognize the job is not done, and we need to maintain momentum. We need to lean in, go faster, and do more.”

Watch all the firesides, panels, and more from Day 1 here.