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Applications open for Swanari TechSprint, designed to advance digital financial inclusion for women in India

As India moves towards achieving greater milestones in using digital forms of payment, there still exists a gender divide that is leaving women in the country behind in terms of digital financial inclusion. According to the GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report 2021, Indian women are 15 percent less likely to own a mobile phone, and 33 percent less likely to use mobile internet services than men. In 2020, 25 percent of the total adult female population owned a smartphone versus 41 percent of adult men.

The above statistics are a reflection of the fact that even after increased internet penetration in the country, the female population is still struggling to be included in the digital ecosystem. The rural-urban digital divide and societal norms are the major reasons for this glaring gap.

To promote financial inclusion for women from all walks of life, the Reserve Bank of India’s Innovation Hub in association with CIIE.CO is hosting a virtual ‘Swanari TechSprint’ from April 18-22, 2022 which will bring together fintech, financial service providers, innovators, and subject matter experts to collaborate, ideate, and solve specific problems and code prototype solutions in real-time.

About Swanari TechSprint

The initiative is particularly designed to improve the financial lives of underserved and unbanked women in the country. Swanari TechSprint is inviting applications from the startups and organisations working towards creating convenient solutions to several challenges faced by women in India.

These are intense problem-solving sessions designed to facilitate innovation and promote collaboration between regulators and technologists to create digital solutions to difficult problems.

Problem statements have been identified and divided into two tracks – Minimum Viable Product and Ideation & Design. Both the tracks are focused on developing and building digital solutions for low literate/oral/vernacular segments of women using behaviour-led designs.

Detailed information on participation criteria is available on

What is in store?

CIIE.CO, an accelerator and incubator offering support to startups at their early stages, is an active partner to this programme and will consider winners for acceleration support. Here is what you can expect:

For participants

  • Access to a network of experts and influencers
  • Inputs from partners who are looking to co-create and pilot
  • Exclusive access to data that may help in building and validating the solution

For winners

  • Opportunity to partner with our scale-up partners who will help take the solution to the market
  • Extensive visibility and recognition among peers and potential customers
  • Fast-tracked evaluation for acceleration support by CIIE.CO, based on eligibility including capital up to Rs 25 lakh, customised technical assistance by MSC Consulting, training and mentoring by industry practitioners and domain experts, investor and market connect, cloud credits and more.

This is an exciting chance for companies to be recognised and receive the required business support. Moreover, to fulfil the larger ambition of financial inclusion of women, all stakeholders need to work in collaboration with each other. The last date to apply for Swanari TechSprint is March 31, 2022.

So, if you think you fit the bill,

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