After a competitive application process, the Alliance selected fifteen fintechs to participate in the Alliance Hack: Designing Gender-Intelligent Fintechs. The organizations hail from ten countries: Canada, Cambodia, India, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, United States, Zambia. Each proposed an innovative business solution with the potential to break down one of our five key barriers to women’s economic empowerment:
Women owned/led very small businesses (WVSEs), often semi-formal, are a vast un-served underserved segment. FSPs often lack sufficient information and documents to underwrite loans, and women VSE owners often lack the know-how or collateral to access the financing they need. The fintechs proposing solutions to enable financing for WVSEs include Aeloi Technologies, a software that monitors the end-use of microfinance business loans in real-time; Boost Capital, a B2B2C managed solution that enables FSPs to offer customers a fully digital microfinance experience; Digital PayGo, a marketplace for mobile payments solutions; and Lucy, a mobile money-management app tailored towards women.
Women owned/led formal SMEs (WSMEs) are also massively under-financed. WSMEs may borrow from multiple sources, often using personal credit cards to finance their businesses, as bank requirements can be onerous for new entrepreneurs. Banks may also perceive WSMEs as costly to serve. The fintechs proposing solutions to solve this challenge include Finbots AI Solutions Pte. Ltd., an AI-powered credit-modelling solution, and Shecluded, a fintech that provides loans, asset-building tools and financial education for women in Africa.
Filling the SME financing gender gap will take more than financing alone. Training, mentoring, networking, and other non-financial services can give entrepreneurs a vital leg up. The fintechs developing digital NFS solutions for women entrepreneurs include Lidh, a Mexico-based digital platform with financial and non-financial solutions for women; Mamamoni, a microfinancing solution for low-income women; Munay, a Bolivia-based online community for women entrepreneurs; ProMujer, a platform that aims to close the financial services gender gap in Latin America; and TRIBE Fintech, a white-label SME financial community platform for banks and fintechs around the world.
Limited access to markets is a key constraint for WSMEs in developing countries. Women-owned/led small businesses often find trade and supply chain finance particularly challenging, given their smaller size, lack of longterm track record and the need for security to underwrite working capital. The fintechs developing ideas to connect WSMEs to markets include Tenbox, an online marketplace with digital solutions for SMEs in the Food & Beverage industry, and Dukan E-Commerce (Private) Limited, a digital commerce, payments, and lending ecosystem.
Long-term financial planning has traditionally been reserved for men, while women tend to handle day-to-day budgeting. In many cases, this is because women lack connection with financial advisors and have low confidence in their investment skills compared to their male counterparts. LoanGini, an AI-first platform providing financial education and planning and investment advice to women and Untangle Money, a financial planning and education platform for women both proposed solutions to increase women’s means of investment.