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Seedstars, an internationally acclaimed investment company, has declared the official inauguration of the Financial Innovations for Women Affected by Migration (FIWAM) Growth Programme.
This initiative aims to identify and support fintech companies committed to enhancing financial inclusion, especially for migrant women and their dependents in Asia, MENA, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Applications are currently open and will be accepted until 30 July 2023 at seedsta.rs/fiwam.
The FIWAM Growth Programme is made possible through the funding of the Impact-Linked Fund for Gender Inclusive FinTech (ILF for GIF). This fund is managed by the Impact-Linked Finance Fund (ILFF) and supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Austrian Development Agency, a crucial component of the Austrian Development Cooperation.
The ILF for GIF has entered into a partnership with Seedstars to stimulate and facilitate enhanced access and utilisation of financial products and services for women affected by migration.
According to a recent Village Capital report titled “Catalysing financial inclusion: Gender-inclusive fintech solutions for migrants,” there are over 281 million international migrants and more than 55 million internally displaced persons worldwide. The numbers are continuously escalating due to prolonged conflict, climate change effects, and growing global poverty levels.
Hence, the need for improved financial inclusion for migrants, particularly migrant women who encounter heightened obstacles when trying to access financial services, including legislative restrictions, documentation deficits, language barriers, cultural variations, and limited mobility.
The FIWAM Growth Programme will offer targeted support to selected fintech start-ups from Asia, MENA, and Sub-Saharan Africa. These start-ups will be provided with technical assistance to meet investment potential and escalate their impact on women migrants and women affected by migration.
Each regional cohort, consisting of 10 to 15 fintechs, will benefit from the guidance of experts in residence (EIR) and mentors from their regions over a three-month period.
The programme is currently inviting applications from start-ups that meet the following criteria:
• Operate as a for-profit entity in Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA, or an Asian country
• Provide a fintech solution already serving or potentially serving women migrants or women affected by migration
• Be at the growth stage with a product-market fit and generating a monthly revenue of about $10 000.
Women-led companies and founders who are women migrants are particularly urged to apply.
The Austrian Development Agency’s programme manager: private sector and development, Susanne Thiard-Laforet, expressed her anticipation for the programme.
“This is more than an acceleration initiative. It is a driver of meaningful change, breaking down barriers and biases to acknowledge migrant groups, especially women, as a viable market segment. We are thrilled to work with Seedstars in this venture to improve access to financial services for migrant women, their families, and host communities,” said Thiard-Laforet.
Elizabeth Jones, global lead: programme operations at Seedstars, also voiced her enthusiasm: “The FIWAM Growth Programme promises to create a lasting impact on the lives of migrant women and those affected by migration. We look forward to the transformative financial inclusion that these innovative solutions will usher into their communities.”