In its third year, Women’s World Banking’s Fintech Innovation Challenge provides a global stage to highlight Fintech innovations serving unbanked and underserved women in order to build their security and prosperity in the face of global inequalities.

Despite years of progress in advancing financial inclusion, nearly 1 billion women around the world still remain excluded from formal financial services, and there is a persistent 9% gender gap across emerging markets. Moreover, the economic toll of COVID-19 has fallen disproportionately on women, exposing their particular vulnerability to global shocks. While the pandemic has accelerated the digitization of financial services, low-income women remain at risk of being left behind given the unique barriers they face to adoption and usage of digital financial services. Combined with broader inequalities for women such as rising unemployment, disparities in access to healthcare, and the effects of climate change, it is more imperative than ever that gender equality is at the center of recovery and growth.


  • Startup Fintechs based anywhere that are leveraging technology to provide financial services for unbanked and underserved women in emerging markets. Solutions do not need to be exclusively for unbanked and underserved women but must show deliberate intent to be inclusive of reaching the segment.
  • Fintechs should also demonstrate a commitment to developing women leaders through the presence of women in their senior management team and Board of Directors.
  • Solutions should focus on building women’s security or prosperity, particularly in supporting resilience and recovery from global economic shocks.
  • Applicants can be pre-revenue but must demonstrate a viable value proposition to reach unbanked and underserved women.


Finalists Receive

  • Invitation to present at Women’s World Banking’s virtual Fintech Innovation Challenge in October 2021, part of the new Making Finance Work for Women Thought Leadership Series.
  • A virtual experience of Visa Inc’s Dubai Innovation Center, where you will be able to be part of an immersive experience in the future of payments furnished by Visa Inc.
  • One-year complimentary membership into Women’s World Banking’s Global Network.
  • Receive priority access to our Gender Assessment Methodology, Women’s World Banking’s proprietary approach to helping institutions become a brand and employer of choice for women. The approach involves your institution completing an online questionnaire followed by a consultation call with our team to discuss opportunity areas to advance women talent in your organization and better serve women customers.
  • Complimentary tickets to the Making Finance Work for Women 2022 Summit.

Winners Receive

  • The Fintech Fueler Package:
    • Customized UX design guidance session furnished by Visa Inc.
    • Exclusive pitch meeting and feedback session with Women’s World Banking Asset Management Team.
    • Four 1:1 leadership coaching and feedback sessions with one of Women’s World Banking’s executive coaches.
  • A guaranteed spot as a featured speaker at a Making Finance Work for Women 2022 event.

Selection Criteria


  • What is the desired long-term impact of this solution? Is there a vision to drive towards women’s economic empowerment?
  • How will the long-term impact be measured?

Relevance & Reach

  • How many unbanked and underserved women does the solution reach?
  • What strategies are being deploying to reach unbanked and underserved women?


  • How does the solution address systemic barriers for unbanked and underserved women in a unique and differentiated way from your competitors?


  • Does the business model demonstrate a path to financial sustainability?


  • What is the strategy for growth, and how this solution will scale across markets?

Gender Diversity

  • How is the institution promoting gender diversity and inclusive leadership within the organization?


  • Does the solution focus on employing best practices in consumer protection and transparency?

Application Deadline: June 11th 2021