Applications Invited For Women MSME FinTech Innovation Fund

Applications Invited For Women MSME FinTech Innovation Fund

Organization: UNESCAP - UNCDF

Apply By: 30 Apr 2019

Grant Amount: 50000 USD


The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

About the Grant:

Women MSME FinTech Innovation Fund. UNCDF, in collaboration with UNESCAP, is launching an Innovation Fund on digital solutions for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in Asia-Pacific. The Innovation Fund seeks to co-fund companies to pilot innovative digital and financial solutions that improve access to finance and/or enhance operational efficiency of women-led MSMEs.

Successful applications will receive:

  • Up to $50,000 of Co-Funding
  • Technical Assistance
  • Mentoring
  • Connection to Investors

Innovation Fund Goal:

  • To co-fund and provide technical support for companies to pilot innovative digital solutions and/or digital financial solutions which support women-owned, managed and/or led MSMEs. Eligible applicants are welcome to submit a proposal that addresses this goal.

Who Can Apply?

  • Eligible applicants who can apply for the Innovation Fund include:
  • Regulated Financial Institutions (Banks, MFIs, Insurance Companies)
  • Payment Service Providers
  • Agent Banking Aggregators
  • Mobile Network Operators
  • Technology Providers
  • FMCG/Agriculture/Other Companies
  • FinTech Companies
  • NGOs
  • The applicant can be based anywhere globally, but the project must target women-owned, managed or led MSMEs in one or more of the target countries.
  • The target countries include: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, and Viet Nam.

What are the preferred solutions?

  • Solutions that present an innovative technological replacement for reengineering credit operations (e.g. P2P lending, alternative credit scoring, automation of loan origination process, credit approval process, disbursement and repayments) which enable women MSMEs to better access financing for running their business.
  • Solutions that utilise an emerging technology (e.g. block chain or distributed ledger technology, with a preferred focus on Big Data analytics for credit assessments, smart contracts and/or trade financing).
  • Solutions that leverage a combination of women customer-centric credit products with technology-driven innovations that overcome potential roadblocks (e.g. sales and delivery channels, marketplace lending, supply chain financing, credit assessment, alternatives to collateral and risk management). Particular preference will be given to solutions that tackle the challenges facing inclusive development, such as women’s economic empowerment, access to hard to reach or marginalised groups, and disability sensitive products/services.
  • Solutions that couple access to finance with financial literacy, improving digital literacy and/or business management capacity development that can improve the ability of women MSMEs to better manage business operations and funds, e.g. through improved cash-flow management or digital accounting tools, etc.

What are the evaluation criteria for proposals?

  • Applicants will be invited to complete an online application form outlining how the project will improve access to finance and/or enhance operational efficiency for women-led MSMEs in one or more of the target countries, and presenting the full implementation and technical details of the proposed pilot testing. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to deliver a presentation to an Investment Committee.
  • The Investment Committee will score the proposals according to:
  • The innovativeness of the proposed solution
  • The additionality of the project (e.g. enabling new or innovative approaches to be piloted that would not normally be financed through commercial financing routes)
  • The practicality of implementation
  • The sustainability of the proposed solution
  • The potential impact of the solution on MSMEs in general and women-owned, managed or led MSMEs in particular.
  • The scalability potential of the proposed solution
  • The experience of the applicant in the proposed field

Application Deadline:  30th April 2019

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