Letter from Inez: November 2022

Thursday 17th November 2022

In This Issue
Spotlight On: 2022 Summit

A capacity crowd gathered in London earlier this month for our first in-person Annual Summit since 2019 in Paris. It was wonderful to see everyone, and we appreciate you coming despite the hassle of getting visas.

In this issue of our newsletter, we’ve highlighted some key takeaways from two content-rich days focusing on three themes: purposeful leadership and climate action, building female-friendly entrepreneurial ecosystems and supporting the fintech sector to become gender intelligent. A playbook is already emerging for each of these themes. (We also encourage you to view any missed sessions on our YouTube channel.)

Building a purposeful organization is grounded in a strong “purpose strategy”. It requires taking bold stands and leading the sector. At the Summit, NatWest CEO Alison Rose shared how she has done this by acting on two issues–the climate crisis and the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Both require balancing the short and the long term. It turns out implementing a women’s market strategy has many of the elements required to implement a B2C climate strategy. Both require a business case; well-designed and executed customer value propositions; internal alignment including training staff on the topic; and KPIs set and measured. The Alliance is therefore uniquely poised to support our members’ climate journey which we will start by running a Working Group on Climate Action starting in the new year. (Details to follow).

Supporting female entrepreneurs was a big focus of the Summit because it’s at the heart of our members’ women-centered strategies. We heard about earmarking large amounts of funding, adapting underwriting methodologies, fixing the Angel and Venture Capital imbalances, and the role each of us can play in rallying our competitors and other stakeholders to support building female-friendly entrepreneurial ecosystems.

We also explored our members’ interest in modeling the UK’s Investing In Women Code in their own countries and received an overwhelmingly positive response. We’ll be looking into this possibility in the six countries where we’re supporting the generation of supply-side data for the Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) partnership, the playbook for which will be out soon. And we’ll be looking to expand that work in other countries and signing on to a global code in 2023 in partnership with WE-FI.

Fintechs can unlock access for so many women, and we heard from fintech members, including LXME,Mahila Money and Tymebank, on how they’ve designed their sales funnels to do this. Defying the statistics that women have higher customer acquisition costs and lower lifetime values, each shared the adaptations they’ve made to win the women’s market. All three had participated in previous Alliance Hackathons, and this year’s shortlisted finalists gave their pitches after the panel.

The Hackathon’s first prize went to TRIBE Fintech for their incredible and ambitious platform providing financial and business education, community and networking in a white-label format that banks can license: a one-stop-shop that solves all your SME customer needs. In this newsletter, we interview TRIBE Fintech founder Mo Harvey and learn more about her company and journey as a female fintech founder. Congratulations to Mo and the other fintech finalists. This year was our most competitive field yet, and we thank all Hackathon sponsors, including Citi, HSBC, Equinix and IFC.

The capstone of our Summit was announcing and celebrating the winners of our annual Championing the Female Economy Awards. The awards recognize outstanding Alliance member institutions for their vision, commitment and contributions to women and the Alliance.

We also thank our excellent Summit host, NatWest, our wonderful and committed members, our knowledge and strategic partners, and our many new friends.

Meeting in person again reminded us of our humanity and that we are indeed social animals. Doing business online brings many efficiencies, but at the end of the day, solving some of the world’s most intractable problems requires us to connect in person.

In community,