Alliance Hack: Designing Gender-Intelligent Fintechs

Women represent the world’s largest and fastest-growing market—and one that has been largely overlooked by the incumbent and fintech sectors alike. Alliance research in 2020 and 2021 found that fintechs are uniquely well-positioned to tap into the vast, underserved women’s market.

The Alliance Hack encourages fintechs to capitalize on this multi-trillion-dollar opportunity by drawing on the deep expertise of Alliance members—a network of 85+ financial services providers, including commercial banks, payments, insurance companies and fintechs —to support them in designing gender-intelligent solutions.

The 2022 Alliance Hack called for innovative solutions to close gender gaps in financial services, like the fact that most women-owned businesses are under-leveraged and many women consumers are under-invested in the markets. Excellent prizes included a $25,000 USD cash prize, participation in the Equinix accelerator program, and one year membership to APIX platform as well as one year’s membership to the Financial Alliance for Women.

The Alliance Hack: Designing Gender-Intelligent Fintechs was supported by the Singapore Fintech Festival and APIX. Partners included HSBC, Citi, International Finance corporation (IFC), Equinix and contributors from across the Financial Alliance for Women’s member network.


Why should fintechs target the female economy?

A Wealth of Opportunities

Women represent a huge market opportunity and growing purchasing power, led by trends toward gender parity in education, entrepreneurship, and wealth. 40% of global wealth is held by women. In the US, women make 80% of household buying decisions including where to bank; and yet they are greatly underserved by and highly dissatisfied with the financial services sector. In the SME space, women are starting businesses at greater rates than men and account for 33 percent of small business globally yet account for on average 1/5 of the total financing from banks to SMEs. Brands that can meet this unmet need will have a strong competitive advantage moving forward.

A Lingering Gap

This Hack is focused on financing the missing middle — businesses that fall between traditional SME lending by banks and traditional microfinance by MFIs. This is where the majority of women-owned/led businesses are, and the finance gap in this segment is estimated at US$1.7 trillion in emerging markets for formal businesses alone.

Fintechs are uniquely positioned to embrace this opportunity either by working in partnership with other financial services providers (B2B/B2B2C) or going straight to the consumer (B2C).