Discovering Voices of Female Entrepreneurs in the Fintech Industry
Something is changing in the fintech ecosystem. More spaces are opening for women entrepreneurs to participate more substantially in the industry— not just as beneficiaries of financial tools and resources but also as recognized voices and changemakers in the financial technology sector writ large.
This is the conclusion of Alexandra Mendoza, Founder and General Manager of Liquitech, one of the first companies selected by the Start Path Empodera (SPE) accelerator program. “I see that the market is restlessly seeking women entrepreneurs who can generate impact. They’re paying attention to a long-neglected niche,” Alexandra says.
To Alexandra, women are starting to be seen “as a good subject for funding.” According to her, the entrepreneurial ecosystem “is identifying the advantages of women as leaders of companies.” Carolina Ruiz Soto, General Manager of mipaquete.com, affirms these thoughts. Previously, Carolina explains, women were perceived as “less ambitious” because they were relaying honest and pragmatic projections for their companies. Now, investors are beginning to see women in a new light: “They may be seeing an advantage in realistic entrepreneurs, such as us, especially at times when less money is available,” Carolina says.
Ana Maria Lopez, CEO of Tyke, thinks that women entrepreneurs “are part of a market that must be considered, particularly by financial entities.” She adds that it is crucial to promote spaces that enable the participation of women. “Business is not only done over whiskey; it can also be done over tea. The fintech and innovation sectors use nightlife spaces, but breakfast might work better for some women entrepreneurs. Sometimes, a mom must be home at night,” Ana comments.
Recently, Colombia Fintech, the national association of fintech companies, appointed two women as president and vice president of their board of directors. These appointments coincide with the activism of a new group that has made its presence known in the fintech ecosystem: Mujeres Fintech Colombia. One of the founders of Mujeres Fintech Colombia is Alexandra Mendoza, a participant of Start Path Empodera’s first cohort. Alexandra recalls that the group was born because of her participation at SPE. “Several women entrepreneurs began to create a community and talk about the importance of using different spaces to inspire and empower other women,” she says. That is how the activist group started a movement, attending events with printed T-shirts that read “Mujeres Fintech” and speaking at public engagements about the importance of women in business. “I myself wrote the President of Colombia Fintech, telling him that if they needed anyone on the board, I was available,” Alexandra recalls. “I had never sent a message like that before going through SPE. I wasn’t empowered [before]… But [now] they invited me to join the association’s financial committee.”
The purpose of Mujeres Fintech Colombia is not to create a gender-specific society but rather to showcase the talents of women entrepreneurs, including their knowledge, experience, and leadership. As a community, Mujeres Fintech Colombia has committed to make their companies grow through improved training, connections, and visibility. To Alexandra, there is still a ways to go before they reach their goals, but “doors are being opened because of what we’ve done.”