In today’s interconnected world, migration is a reality for millions of people worldwide. However, women migrants often face unique challenges, particularly when it comes to accessing financial services and products.
Recognizing this issue, Seedstars, a global startup community and investment platform, has launched the Financial Innovations for Women Affected by Migration (FIWAM) Growth Program.
This initiative aims to identify and support fintech companies that are dedicated to promoting financial inclusion for women migrants and women affected by migration across Asia, MENA, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The program is funded by the Impact-Linked Fund for Gender Inclusive FinTech (ILF for GIF), managed by the Impact-Linked Finance Fund (ILFF) and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, as well as the Austrian Development Agency, the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation.
The ILF for GIF has partnered with Seedstars to foster improved access and utilization of financial products and services for women affected by migration.
The recent report by Village Capital, “Catalyzing Financial Inclusion: Gender-Inclusive Fintech Solutions for Migrants,” cites that there are over 281 million international migrants and over 55 million internally displaced persons globally. These numbers continue to rise with protracted conflict, the effects of climate change, and increasing poverty levels worldwide.
There is a growing need to improve the financial inclusion of migrants, especially women migrants who face even more barriers in accessing financial services such as legislative constraints, documentation deficiencies, language barriers, cultural differences, and limited mobility.
The FIWAM Growth Program offers numerous benefits for selected fintech startups. These include:
- Enhancing financial inclusion for migrant women and their families in Asia, MENA, and Sub-Saharan Africa
- Technical assistance to help fintech startups attain investment potential and scale their impact.
- Direct support from experts in residence (EIR) and mentors, who bring regional expertise and guidance.
- Three months of dedicated support, allowing fintech startups to refine their solutions and strategies.
- Each cohort of 10-15 fintechs per region will also receive direct support from experts in residence (EIR) and mentors drawn from their respective regions, over a period of three months.
The FIWAM Growth Program is accepting applications from startups that meet the following criteria:
- Must be a for-profit entity and have operations in a Sub-Saharan African / MENA / Asian country
- Provide a fintech solution that already serves or has the potential to serve women migrants or women affected by migration
- Have product market fit, be at growth stage, and generating monthly revenue of ±$10K
- Woman-led companies as well as founders who are women migrants are highly encouraged to apply
Susanne Thiard-Laforet, Program Manager Private Sector & Development, Austrian Development Agency stated, “We’re eager to collaborate with Seedstars in this pivotal initiative to enhance access and utilization of financial services for women impacted by migration, encompassing not only migrants themselves but also their families and host communities.
This program transcends mere acceleration; it is a catalyst for meaningful change, dismantling barriers and biases in order to recognize migrant groups, especially women, as a viable market segment. We are looking forward to supporting and learning from the innovative solutions that will be developed through this program, and the impactful strides they will make in fostering financial inclusion.”
Commenting on the launch of the program, Elizabeth Jones, Global Lead Program Operations of Seedstars said, “We’re thrilled to launch the Financial Innovations for Women Affected by Migration (FIWAM) Growth Program, as it has the potential to create a lasting impact on the lives of women migrants and women affected by migration. We’re eager to witness the transformative financial inclusion these innovative solutions will bring about in their communities.”
How to apply
Interested fintech startups are encouraged to apply before July 30, 2023 by visiting the FIWAM Growth Program website. For more information about the program, its benefits, and selection criteria, please visit the website.