Supporting Women’s Ingenuity: A Winning Strategy
16 April 2021
“Never let a good crisis go to waste” – Winston Churchill
And the UK’s regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has done just that by convening the first ever Women’s Empowerment virtual TechSprint on 22 to 25 March 2021 to address new vulnerabilities and the disproportionate impact identified during the COVID-19 crisis. The event brought together over 100 coders, business leaders and innovators across the UK and the USA to empower women financially and develop solutions in the following areas:
- Supporting the secure identification and sharing of traditional and non-traditional data to form a holistic view of a woman who has been locked out or disenfranchised
- Investing in women who are underbanked or locked out
- Supporting market participants to gain access to secure attestation without compromising privacy and security
- Using technology to help women understand and manage their finances during periods of uncertainty or change to support their future financial resilience and security
This was in the recognition that women’s empowerment can have many positive outcomes including boosting productivity, increasing economic diversification and income equality. A recent study found that “creating an environment where women start and scale businesses at the same rate as men could add nearly £250bn to the UK economy.”
When we look at the mid-market enterprise (MME) space, it is difficult to fully identify the impact that the pandemic and crisis has had on women- and minority-owned MMEs. What is interesting, however, is looking at the pre-pandemic growth of women- and minority-owned MMEs. A study by American Express and Dun & Bradstreet identified that between 2011 and 2017, the number of women-owned MMEs in the US increase by 119.6% and minority-owned MMEs grew by 85.8%. The study found that MMEs are more likely than average to be owned by women (7.2%) than other company types.
“creating an environment where women start and scale businesses at the same rate as men could add nearly £250bn to the UK economy”
Women led-businesses have especially felt the crunch during COVID-19. Not only have are women-led businesses predominantly found in pandemic hit industries such as retail, hospitality and leisure, but women have been found to be more likely to work at the kitchen table, having to balance home working, with home learning and caring for extended family. Having a greater family care burden can act as a barrier to a business’s ability to grow and scale. While the UK government has developed the Investing in Women Code, which is a fantastic initiative, women-led MMEs need specialist banking products and solutions to help them get the lay of the land and not only access finance but other specialist products to help them hedge their risks and manage liquidity. In-depth analysis of their accounting and banking data can help them create crisis response plans and become more resilient when facing a tumultuous time. This is where Elementaryb can help. Eb has created an intelligent financial management platform. Its unique SaaS platform will help MMEs make smarter, better and faster financial decisions by helping to identify potential issues and optimal products and solutions. It is being built by a women-led diverse team to ensure that biases are addressed at the outset.
Elementaryb supported the FCA Women’s Empowerment TechSprint by sending its CCO and Co-Founder, Denisse Rudich, to act as a mentor. Elementaryb is proud to announce that Denisse and her team won the Eureka Award for the prototype which most excited and/or surprised the judges due to its creativity and ingenuity. The Well-Fair app is an incognito mobile app to help survivors of domestic, economic and emotional abuse & vulnerable persons access services to help them and build trusted identity using non-traditional data points on the blockchain. This forms part of Elementaryb’s on-going commitment to sustainability and the UN SDGs.
Author: Denisse Rudich CCO & Co-Founder