Alliance Hack

Gender Intelligent Fintech Design: Accessing the Female Economy

Women represent the world’s largest and fastest-growing market—and one that has been largely overlooked by the incumbent and fintech sectors alike. By overlooking the female economy opportunity, fintechs are leaving trillions on the table.

The Alliance Hack was born out of our growing understanding of the fintech industry’s blind spots when it comes to accessing the female economy. As our research in 2020 and 2021 has demonstrated, fintechs are uniquely positioned to tap into this vast and underserved market. To help fintechs do so, the Alliance launched an annual Hackathon.

The Alliance Hack in its fifth edition draws on the deep expertise of Alliance members—a network of 90+ financial services providers, including commercial banks, fintechs, payments and insurance companies—in order to support fintechs design Gender-Intelligent solutions.

Why should fintechs target the female economy?

A Wealth of Opportunities

Women represent a huge market opportunity and a 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 businesses 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 in part focuses 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. It also focuses on provision of non-financial services—access to timely and relevant information, business and financial education, networks and markets—that women entrepreneurs need to grow their businesses and all women need to support their ability to be investors. Finally, this hack asks fintechs to provide solutions so that women can take action around global heating—as consumers and as business owners.