How we can enhance financial inclusion for women migrants


How we can enhance financial inclusion for women migrants

Seedstars Global

JANUARY 26, 2024

In our interconnected world, the plight of migrants, especially women, is an issue that demands urgent and comprehensive attention. With over 281 million international migrants and 59 million internally displaced persons globally, the need for innovative financial solutions has never been more pronounced.



Here, we explore four effective strategies that entrepreneurial support organizations can take to improve financial inclusion for women affected by migration, drawing insights from the impactful report by Village Capital and integrating the approach being taken during the Financial Innovations for Women Affected by Migration (FIWAM) Growth Program, which is currently running through April 2024.

Embrace fintech innovations

Fintech startups are at the forefront of bridging the financial gap for women affected by migration. By offering customized services that cater to their unique needs, these companies are revolutionizing access to financial resources. These innovations include microfinancing tailored for individual needs, user-friendly neobanking platforms, and educational tools to enhance financial literacy. They address critical challenges such as financial distress among low-income earners and provide community-based lending and savings platforms, making financial services more approachable and inclusive.

By offering these varied solutions, fintech is effectively dismantling the myriad of barriers that migrant women face in traditional banking systems. It not only enhances accessibility but also empowers migrant women with the tools and knowledge needed for financial independence and resilience.

Support, scale, and address entrepreneurial challenges

Addressing entrepreneurial challenges is essential for advancing financial inclusion, a priority recognized by organizations like Seedstars, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Austrian Development Agency. These entities have joined forces to launch the FIWAM Growth Program, funded by the Impact-Linked Fund for Gender Inclusive Fintech (ILF for GIF). This program specifically supports fintech companies in the Asia, MENA, and Sub-Saharan Africa regions, focusing on those that serve women affected by migration.

FIWAM offers personalized coaching and access to innovative platforms like Uptiq, enabling fintechs to experiment with and refine their business models to effectively meet the needs of their target markets. This hands-on approach is vital for the startups to tailor their services to the unique challenges faced by migrant women. In addition to one-on-one mentorship, the program also provides specialized support from service providers in key areas like product development and marketing strategy. This personalized assistance ensures that the fintech solutions developed are not only innovative but also directly address the financial needs and challenges of women affected by migration.

Implement Impact-Linked Financing models

Impact-Linked Financing (ILF) models represent a transformative shift in financing, particularly for ventures focused on social issues like enhancing financial inclusion for women affected by migration. ILF models are innovative financing mechanisms that link financial rewards to positive social outcomes, encouraging businesses to prioritize tangible social impact alongside profitability.

ILF incentivizes companies that deliver specific impact outcomes, like improving access to financial services for women affected by migration. For example, a fintech startup enabling women affected by migration to access banking services might receive additional funding or favorable loan terms based on its impact. The potential of such financing solutions is to drive capital towards high-impact enterprises focusing on underserved populations, thus promoting broader financial inclusion and empowerment. Providing opportunities to access such financing allows for impact-focused startups to unlock new ways of raising capital while at the same time having a positive social outcome.

Advocate for inclusive policies and regulations

Advocating for inclusive policies and regulations is a critical step in enhancing financial inclusion for women affected by migration. Policymakers and influencers play a crucial role in facilitating access to financial services for this group. The Village Capital report stresses the need for gender-sensitive policies and regulatory changes that support the financial inclusion of women affected by migration. By pushing for reforms that address the unique financial challenges that these women face, which include access to services, lack of documentation and existing cultural barriers, we can create a more equitable and accessible financial environment. One that acknowledges and caters to the needs of one of the most vulnerable groups in our global society.

The journey towards financial inclusion for women affected by migration is filled with complex challenges, but it is also brimming with opportunities for meaningful change. We can make significant strides through the integration of innovative fintech solutions, targeted support programs, entrepreneurial guidance, new financial models, and proactive policy advocacy. Insights from Village Capital's report, the World Migration Report and initiatives like the FIWAM Growth Program provide a roadmap for this journey, highlighting the importance of collective effort and innovative thinking in addressing the financial needs of women affected by migration.

Visit the FIWAM website here for more information about the program.

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