Using Digitalization to Support Financing of Women-owned Businesses in the Pacific Islands



We are aiming to identify a solution (s) that will support the collection and analysis of business data for women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises (WSMES) in the Pacific which ultimately will help banks and financial institutions to make informed lending decisions that are gender considerate.

Through this challenge, we aim to support WSMEs to be able to access necessary finance to grow their businesses.



 Formally registered technology-based start-up firms with at least 3 years of operations, technology providers, and corporate partners that primarily serve the financial services industry (Fintech)

> Fintechs with experience and goal to support solutions for the female economy

> Possess a minimum viable product (MVP) or a product available on the market or ready to be rolled out in the market which can be tailored based on challenge requirements

> Mature enough to drive to POC stage with financial institutions

> Preference for gender-diverse teams and female-founded/-managed

> Experience in the Pacific, specific knowledge of Papua New Guinea preferred


Constraints faced by WSMEs growing their businesses and accessing financing have been largely documented: a combination of gender-biased norms (e.g. misperceptions/ bias of loan officers), lack of access to collateral and tangible assets (often not owned by women), and lack of access to opportunities due to prevailing gender inequalities. These constraints are further exacerbated in times of external shocks, such as natural disasters or the one provoked by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. COVID-19 also made apparent that under the new normal business environment, a digital economy becomes even more important.
An added constraint is that in the Pacific region, often, internet or telecommunication infrastructure is less available and that they are prone to natural disasters like cyclones, earthquakes, and risks due to climate change.
This challenge provides the chance to close the data gap which precludes women’s businesses to access finance as they cannot provide proof of business transactions and turnover as often, smaller businesses transact in cash without proper recording. Banks rely on transaction data to be able to analyze a business’ cash flow to make a credit decision.
With your ideas and innovations, we believe that we can make a difference by providing WSMEs with the tools they need to run their businesses (and record their business transactions) and give financial institutions the data they need to make low-risk loans to the sector.


Your out-of-the-box ideas are what we need to promote access to finance for WSMEs and convince banks that women’s businesses are a good business potential; we must keep in mind it must be online and offline for feature phones and smartphones, easy to install and implement, simple to use, as well as intuitive for people with lower literacy and digital literacy capabilities.

How can we create financial impact for woman owned businesses in the Pacific with tools, using feature phones and smart phones in low resource settings, that will close the data gap for banks to make a credit decision?



How can the solution enhance the availability and equality of opportunities to access financial services for women in the Pacific?


How can the solution empower women in the Pacific to develop, maintain and expand their MSMEs?


How can the solution address challenges to digital and financial literacy for women in the Pacific?



How can the solution ensure that women in the Pacific have equal access to address savings, credit, insurance, payments and financial education?


How can the solution ensure that women have access to necessary and affordable technology (including phones)?


The selected solution will have the opportunity for further mentoring and establishing POC in a safe environment with a financial institution in Papua New Guinea and respective seed funding will be provided by ADB (up to $20,000).  


  • Application

    Aug 12 to Oct 8, 2021

    Register and submit your Solution Pitch Deck!

  • First

    Oct 9 to 11, 2021

    Up to 10 Solutions will be shortlisted.

  • Mentoring

    Oct 12 to 20, 2021

    Guidance from ADB specialists to further improve submissions.

  • Second

    Oct 21 to 22, 2021

    The Top 4-5 Solutions will be shortlisted.

  • Final 

    Oct 28, 2021

    Finalists to pitch to the panelists.