Letter from Inez: November 2023

Wednesday 29th November 2023

In This Issue
Spotlight on: 2023 Summit

A capacity crowd gathered in Santo Domingo earlier this month for our Annual Summit that included the launch of the first replication of the WE Finance Code outside of the UK in the Dominican Republic. We were honored to have His Excellency Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic, bear witness as leaders from the Dominican public and private sectors signed the Letter Of Intent to launch the Code. The leaders included the Central Bank; the Superintendent of Banks; trade associations representing the banking, savings and credit co-operative and microfinance sectors; the Minister of Industry and Commerce and the Minister of Women; CEOs of three major banks—Banco BHD, BanReservas and Banco Popular—along with IDB Invest, who are proudly sponsoring the initiative.

Afterward, attendees gathered for an impressive panel on why the Code is important for Dominican women, the role that its key anchors intend to play and what the next steps are in its rollout. We then widened the lens to a global perspective with speakers from Alliance members NatWest (who spearheaded the Code in the UK); Banco BHD (anchoring the Code in the DR); and the Head of WE-FI, Wendy Teleki, who shared that the Code is being piloted in over 24 countries in the next two years. We are very proud that the next country launch will be on Dec. 12 in the Netherlands, anchored by Alliance member ABN AMRO. We hope to see many more members take leadership roles in the adoption of the Code in their countries. 

Reporting data on volumes of finance to WMSMEs is at the heart of the Code, as this metric, along with other key indicators, measures progress and stimulates dialog and action around creating a level playing field for female entrepreneurs. Indeed, sex-disaggregated data was a central theme throughout the Summit, with speakers sharing new insights on market segmentation and building out holistic customer value propositions that not only support business growth but also health and wellness, education, transport and other lifecycle needs.

Added to this mix was our new content area: supporting women through climate change. The numbers are starting to stack up regarding the female economy’s central role in the climate battle, and our members are uniquely poised to support them, given that the capabilities to deliver to women are also those required to deliver on green customer value propositions. This is captured in our latest publication: “Building Gender-Intelligent Green Customer Value Propositions,” the result of our Working Group on this topic in 2023.

We added this topic as a new challenge to the fintechs who entered our fourth annual Hackathon, the winners of which were announced at the Summit. This year’s shortlisted finalists gave their pitches to the audience, and first prize went to SALT, an AI-powered fintech platform that provides users with curated financial products based on their psychology, life context and unique financial needs. Targeting the women’s market, SALT aims to transform women’s economic security by giving users not only what they want but also what they need. In addition to a $25,000 cash prize, SALT also won a spot at the Founder’s Peak stage of the Singapore Fintech Festival. You can watch their pitch at the SFF here.

This year’s Hackathon was our most competitive field yet, and we thank our financial sponsors, the Monetary Authority of Singapore; our esteemed judges from HSBC, Tyme, NatWest and Mastercard StartPath; and our talented mentors, including the winners of our first three Hackathons.

The capstone of our Summit was announcing and celebrating the winners of our annual Champions of 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, Banco BHD, our wonderful and committed members, our financial sponsors, IDB Invest, Mastercard, We-Fi, CAF, CABEI and Maprfre, and our many new friends.

Having our first Summit in Spanish-speaking Latin America reminded us of the wonderful and diverse community we have built and of the universality of our cause and our solutions. Witnessing our host Banco BHD galvanise their entire ecosystem around supporting women entrepreneurs was truly inspirational.
We thank them and all of you for championing the female economy.

In recognition of our ability to mobilize senior stakeholders and offer superior learning services, the Alliance will be supporting WE-FI in implementing a peer learning and knowledge service for national Code Coalition members across the many new Code countries in 2024 and 2025. This community will also meet in-person before the Alliance 2024 Summit that is taking place June 4–5, generously hosted by HSBC at their HQ in London. Please mark your calendars.

Let us celebrate how far we have come.

In community,

Inez Murray Newsletter Signature