Designing Gender-Intelligent Fintechs

Financial Alliance for Women Hack 2022

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#2022alliancehack #alliancehack

Alliance Hack Timeline
  • Start Registration

  • Submit Proposals

  • Shortlist Finalists

  • Submit Solutions

  • Announce Winners

All timings are as per (GMT) Western Europe Time, London, Lisbon, Casablanca
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We, at the Financial Alliance for Women, are the leading peer learning organization for financial services providers targeting the female economy, a large, fast-growing and yet underserved market. We acknowledge that fintechs are well-positioned to tap into this market, as showcased in our research publications launched October 2020, “How Fintechs Can Profit From the Multi-Trillion-Dollar Female Economy”  and October 2021 "How Fintechs Can Capture the Female Economy". The Alliance Hack was born to help fintechs embrace this win-win opportunity.

Now in its third year, the Alliance Hack will leverage our deep expertise in serving the women’s market to support fintechs develop solutions for women to access to finance and non-financial services to accelerate their income growth. The Hack will put the spotlight on fintechs so that incumbent banks, many of whom are existing members of the Alliance, can see what they are offering; and also give the fintech’s an opportunity to pitch their solution in front of a very high ranking judging panel of global leaders in the financial services space.

The Hackathon offers clinics as well as business and technical mentoring support to participating fintechs to help them validate their tech-solutions and develop sound business models with the potential to serve real needs of women business-owners and transforming women's investment capabilities.
And so, we are inviting startup and established fintechs to become gender intelligent and innovate scalable solutions that can break down systemic barriers for women.

Problem Statements

Join us in our journey to powering the global Female Economy!

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1. Financing women-owned/led informal Very Small Enterprises (VSEs)

Women owned/led very small businesses (WVSEs); often semi-formal, are a vast un-served and underserved segment when it comes to accessing finance for their business. FSPs lack sufficient information and documents to underwrite loans. Women also lack sufficient information/financial know-how to demand the appropriate finance for their businesses. Create solutions that would improve women business owners’ in the VSE segment access to finance. (B2B, B2B2C or B2C)

Women-owned Very Small Enterprises (WVSEs) fall between the upper end of micro and the lower end of SME lending and are often informal (not registered).  The gap is roughly $1 trillion when informal women-owned businesses are included. These businesses are vital sources of income for millions of households. Yet they face compounded financing challenges because of incomplete financial statements and paper trails, lack of formal registration, limited business experience, being located in the home, and making sales based on community credit rather than cash.
To cater to these firms, some banks have introduced 'cash-flow'-based lending and or began accepting co-guarantors in place of property titles (which are often a barrier for women seeking loans); however, these approaches can be expensive and adoption by banks is not widespread. Supplier credit offers some respite; but that too has limitations and is irrelevant for many businesses. Supply chain finance has promise; yet it has not been achieved scale.
Banks need faster and more efficient ways of underwriting loans to women-owned VSEs and SMEs, availing of the latest alternative information sources to create credit scoring models and assess multiple income sources, psychometric testing for likely repayment behavior, blockchain to establish collateral ownership, social networks to create co-guarantor mechanisms, and customer data to establish financing demand. Those who design these systems must be careful to safeguard against potential gender bias within data sources, algorithms, and human-made lending decisions. Many core banking systems cannot work with alternative data sources. Banks also need support in acquiring these customers. This includes current customers, because their MIS cannot identify women owned/led businesses easily and many remain unknown in the consumer portfolio; as well as prospect customers—identifying them and reaching out to them in the marketplace. In some cultural contexts, loan collection processes must also be adapted because the traditional recovery agent model does not work.
While some fintechs have solved pieces of the equation, the market is vastly underserved. This presents a huge B2B partnership opportunity for fintech’s and banks, as well as a B2C opportunity for fintechs.

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2. Financing women owned/led formal small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs)

Moving up in business size, women owned/led formal SMEs (WSMEs) are registered businesses that pay taxes and have recorded transcation histories. WSMEs may borrow from multiple sources, often using credit cards, as bank requirements can be onerous for new entrepreneurs. The banks themselves often struggle to identify women-owned businesses and may perceive WSMEs as costly to acquire and serve. Create solutions that would improve women business owners’ in the SME segment to access finance.  (B2B, B2B2C or B2C)

Women-owned SMEs face a number of constraints to growth, including access to finance. While financing is almost always a challenge for SMEs, the difficulties are often intensified by gender-related factors, including women’s lack of collateral, weak property rights, tendency to have been in business for a shorter amount of time and be subjected to discriminatory regulations, laws and customs. On average women self-report report less financial literacy and seek out smaller loans or prefer to use credit cards rather than apply for business finance from banks.  With both supply and demand side barriers, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that as many as 70% of women-owned SMEs in the formal sector in developing countries are unserved or underserved by financial institutions, amounting to a financing gap – and opportunity – of around $285 billion (Source: Credit where it is due, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, 2014).
Moving up in business size, women owned/led formal SMEs are registered as businesses, have bank accounts where transaction history can be assessed, pay taxes, borrow from multiple sources—often using their credit card. Banks requirements are perceived to be and are onerous. The banks themselves find it difficult to identify these women whether they are their own customers (often availing of consumer credit and in the retail rather than corporate portfolio, and also often using credit cards) or are prospect customers; find them costly to acquire them once identified and costly to serve. .  This segment is growth-oriented and tremendously loyal when served well but still face many of the same constraints as WVSEs when accessing finance.

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3. Building business capability of female entrepreneurs

Women-owned enterprises--roughly one third of small businesses in developing countries--represent a massive untapped growth opportunity for financial services providers. Filling the gap will take more than financing alone; training, mentoring, networking, and other non-financial services can give entrepreneurs a vital leg up. Create solutions that would improve women business owners’ access to education and networks. (B2B, B2B2C or B2C)

To support women, including women from minority groups, grow their small businesses, access to finance must  be complemented with  business and financial education (40% + of women going to a bank for a loan do not have a projected cashflow), access to networks and markets (women have smaller networks than men and yet size of network is correlated with business success), relevant information (timely and efficient--women are avid consumers of information) and some form of recognition (too few role models, require increased visibility). This holistic value proposition is what women need to succeed.
Traditional approaches (classroom training, mentoring, trade fairs etc.) are being supplanted by digital platforms (PFM platforms, upskilling on eCommerce platforms, networking on social media platforms etc.) and women customers are looking for one-stop shops that improve their skills, build their networks (including exports), enable access to financing (at whatever stage of business lifecycle). Banks in the Financial Alliance for Women network offer this holistic value proposition but need to do so more cost effectively and at scale through use of innovative technology—fintech, edtech, healthtech—availing of real and financial sector stakeholders, to solve for business growth needs.

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4. Building women entrepreneurs’ access to trade and supply chain

A key constraint for WSMEs in developing countries is limited access to markets. The lack of access to trade and supply chain finance is a serious impediment to growth, with small firms in low-income countries most affected.
• Studies estimate the potential market for SCF to be up to US$17 trillion globally with a large SCF financing gap of $3 trillion (McKinsey, 2020)
• The global trade finance gap is estimated at $1.7 trillion (ADB 2021).
• Half of trade finance requests for SMEs were rejected in 2015, compared to only 7% for multinational corporations (WTO 2016).
Women owned and led small businesses find trade and supply chain finance particularly challenging, given their small size, lack of sufficient track record and the need for security to underwrite working capital and banks’ letters of credit. Create a solution that helps WSMEs access trade and supply chain finance (B2B, B2B2C or B2C)

Women own only a fifth of exporting companies, accounting for less than 1% of total global procurement spend (IFC). While there are a number of scalable gender-smart businesses already participating in corporate and public sector supply chains, more needs to be done to enable more women owned businesses access trade and supply chain finance. These businesses have non-financial needs ranging from access to technology and better market linkages, to improved internal systems and operations, they also have very specific and largely unmet financing requirements. In spite of local nuances and additional barriers in emerging markets, this is a universal challenge - making it a particularly powerful lever for gender finance .  A soon to be published report by IFC on trade finance for women owned businesses indicate that a large majority of women entrepreneurs surveyed do not receive adequate trade finance. IFC’s Sourcing to Equal report on Kenya suggest that women have less access to contract opportunities with corporate buyers. Buyers estimate roughly 3 percent of procurement purchases go to women-owned SMEs. In the research sample, women are more represented as sub-contractors supporting other business fulfill their orders—instead of directly supplying to buyers.
There are a number of obstacles. In complex supply chains with multiple tiers, it’s particularly difficult to gather data beyond tier 2 on gender or race/ethnicity. However, emerging tech solutions have the potential to fill in the gaps. There are also other investable critical technologies that enable effective supply chains. IFC’s Sourcing to Equal pilot in Kenya identified several needs faced by women-owned businesses, all potential areas of investment focus. Among them, the inability to meet certain procurement requirements designed for large suppliers, inadequate skills and capacity to meet industry, social, or environmental certifications, or limited access to affordable finance to bid on larger procurement contracts. Similar challenges exist for women SMEs accessing trade finance and include lack of training, collateral, informality and small size of business. Digital solutions that help women entrepreneurs access trade and supply chain finance, will enable businesses to grow and thrive.

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5. Transforming mass market women’s investment capabilities

Women’s relationship with wealth continues to be impaired. Long-term financial planning has traditionally been reserved for men, while women tend to handle day-to-day budgeting. Women often lack connection with financial advisors and have low confidence in their investment skills compared to their male counterparts. Create a solution that helps develop mass market women’s investment capabilities. (B2B, B2B2C or B2C)

Although women hold approximately 40% of global wealth, as per Credit Suisse’ 2018 Global Wealth Report, they are underserved by financial services providers and tend to have low satisfaction ratings. Women’s wealth is expected to increase, as they are inheriting at greater rates than men and getting closer to parity in education and entrepreneurship. Yet asset management companies have thus far failed to take a tailored approach to the women’s market. That many relationship managers struggle to communicate with women is evident in consumer behavior patterns; for example, 70% of widows leaving their financial advisor within 12 months of becoming a widow.
On the other hand, women tend to face multiple demands on their resources (paying for children, health, housing, etc.) and constraints on their time. They often deal with wealth management through informal channels--according to a 2016 report by Boston Consulting Group, 30% of HNW women list friends and family as their primary source of investment advice, compared to 11% of overall respondents)--or may not focus on their own financial security until they reach old age. This can lead to financial insecurity in retirement, a problem compounded by the pension gender gap, lower lifetime earnings, and longer life expectancies than their male counterparts.
While Wealth Tech is taking off, the mass market for women’s wealth and investment management is largely untapped. Successful solutions should earn the trust of clients and the public, provide relevant and timely information, build financial confidence & expertise, and offer a range of products that are good value and have strong values that speak to women’s widespread interest in ESG investing.
The Financial Alliance for Women's report, “The Growing Opportunity of Women of Wealth,” revealed that high net worth women have financial needs distinct from their male counterparts. At the same time, women are often under-informed about investment opportunities and lack confidence in their own financial planning abilities. 55% of high-net-worth (HNW) women “strongly believe” that they know less than the average investor. 82% of affluent and HNW women globally and across age groups believe that men know more about investing. This does not necessarily mean women are not interested or active in dealing with money; women are highly involved in managing expenses (85%) and paying bills (80%). However, 58% opt out of long-term financial planning – instead, they prioritize savings and short-term investments.
To build confidence in their own long-term financial planning abilities and drive financial security, women need trusted financial advisors that work closely with them to provide timely and relevant information through a range of consultative practices, including risk/reward trade-offs, gamification, and peer learning.

Prizes

US$25,000 Cash Prizes for winning team and many more!

Host
Cash Prize
The winning fintech will receive a US$25,000 cash prize. Shortlisted participants will also get one year free subscription to the APIX platform.
Host
Accelerator Program
The three winners are invited to join the Equinix Metal Accelerator Program which includes up to US$100,000 in credits plus "white glove" support and engagement with Equinix partners and engineering teams.
Host
Networking And Support

The three finalists will get an Annual Membership of the Alliance for a full year, enabling access to a network of global financial services providers and the Alliance’s proprietary tools and knowledge products

PARTICIPATING JUDGES

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Syed Musheer Ahmad

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Karyl Akilian

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Amanda Murphy

Head of Commercial Banking, UK

Amanda Murphy was appointed Head of Commercial Banking, UK in April 2017.
Based in Birmingham, Amanda is a General Manager responsible for HSBC’s relationships with over 900 thousand small, medium and large business customers and a team of approximately 4,700 people in the UK.
Amanda initially joined the bank in 1995 on the Midland Bank’s graduate training scheme. During her career she has worked for HSBC in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia-Pacific, with roles ranging from Risk director in Hong Kong to Head of Commercial Banking in Indonesia.
Amanda has a law degree from Queen’s University, Belfast and an MBA from Warwick University. She is also ACIB qualified. In 2020, Amanda featured in the HERoes Top 100 Women Role Model Executive list for the fourth consecutive year.

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Amanda Murphy

Regional Head of Commercial Banking

Amanda Murphy was appointed Head of Commercial Banking, UK in April 2017.
Based in Birmingham, Amanda is a General Manager responsible for HSBC’s relationships with over 900 thousand small, medium and large business customers and a team of approximately 4,700 people in the UK.
Amanda initially joined the bank in 1995 on the Midland Bank’s graduate training scheme. During her career she has worked for HSBC in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia-Pacific, with roles ranging from Risk director in Hong Kong to Head of Commercial Banking in Indonesia.
Amanda has a law degree from Queen’s University, Belfast and an MBA from Warwick University. She is also ACIB qualified. In 2020, Amanda featured in the HERoes Top 100 Women Role Model Executive list for the fourth consecutive year.

Media Centre

Gender Intelligent Fintech Design: How Fintechs Can Capture The Female Economy

Eligibility

Formally registered technology-based start-up firms that primarily serve the financial services industry (fintechs)

FinTechs, InsureTech, RegTech, etc., with experience and willing to develop solutions to serve the Female Economy

Possess a minimum viable product (MVP) or a product available on the market or ready to be rolled out in the market

Female founders and gender diverse teams encouraged to apply

FAQ

Why should I participate in this hackathon? How will it benefit my organization?

Women represent a huge business opportunity worth trillions of dollars--that has been largely underserved or unserved by the traditional financial sector. Through the Alliance Hack, you can chart a path to becoming a chosen brand for female customers, connect with global industry leaders and learn from global female economy champions the key steps into building a successful Women-centered strategy. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to pitch to high-impact executives at established brands, and other major finserv institutions and network with industry leaders. Winning team will get US$25,000 cash prize, one year Free subscription in APIX platform and credits on Equinix. Top three winning teams will become a member of the Financial Alliance for Women for a full year, enabling access to a network of global financial services providers, mentoring and peer learning opportunities, and to the Alliance's proprietary tools and knowledge products to develop their women's market proposition.

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).

Can I apply to more than one problem statement?

Yes, your team can submit one proposal per problem statement and can submit up to 3 proposals per company. The Alliance will allocate the selected team one problem statement from the team’s [three] preferred choices. Incomplete entries may be disqualified.

What is the selection process?

An independent selection committee will assess fintech proposals based on the following criteria: registration status, growth potential, minimum viable product (MVP) or product on the market, and the ability to impact women's access to financial services. Selected fintechs will be invited to take part in the Hackathon from September 27 till October 20. A panel of prominent experts with relevant experience will be responsible for judging entries. The final decisions of the judges are to be based on the following parameters: Idea Validation (Weight %15), Innovation & Prototype (Weight %15), Impact on Women's Market (Weight %20), Business Model (Weight %15), Customer Segment (Weight %10), Competitiveness and scalability (Weight %15), Team (Weight %5), Bonus +5% for female founders. The panel will assign a score for each parameter, which will then determine the ranking of each team. The hackathon winner will be the team with the highest total score.

How are the winners selected?

Step 1: Each team will be invited to submit the solution on the APIX platform between September 27 and October 20, 2022, midnight London time. Step 2: Each Jury will review the solution on the Apix platform starting on October 21, attend the live pitches and Demo Day On October 25 at 1 pm London time, and finalize their scoring before October 26, 2022. Step 3: Each team must be available on October 25 to present their solution live to a judging panel, after which judges will individually assess the pitch and enter scores on the APIX platform. The entry that earns the highest composite score will win. Failure to present on Demo Day will result in fintech's automatic disqualification. Step 4: Once the final rankings have been determined, the top 5 positions will be announced.

Who owns the code developed during the hackathon?

Teams have full ownership of everything they build at the hackathon and on APIX and are free to do with it what they wish.

Contact

For Designing Gender-Intelligent Fintechs related queries, please reach out to

For technical queries during registration or proposal submission process, please reach out to