Problem and Challenge

Achieving 100% financial inclusion where all have access to financial services still remains a difficult challenge. Particularly, a huge percentage of the unbanked adults comprise of women [1]. There are various barriers worldwide that prevent women from accessing formal financial services, including lower levels of income, lack of financial literacy, time and mobility constraints as well as cultural constraints and an overall lack of gender parity [1]. With this problem present, our team wanted to take on Scotiabank's challenge to build a FinTech tool/hack for females.

Our Inspiration

Inspired by LinkedIn, Ten Thousands Coffee, and Forte Foundation, we wanted to build a platform that combines networking opportunities, mentorship programs, and learning resources of personal finance management and investment opportunities to empower women in managing their own finance; thereby increasing financial inclusion of females.

What it does

The three main pillars of Elevate consists of safe community, continuous learning, and mentor support with features including personal financial tracking.

Continuous Learning

Based on the participant's interests, the platform will suggest suitable learning tracks that are available on the current platform. The participant will be able to keep track of their learning progress and apply the lessons learned in real life, for example, tracking their personal financial activity.

Safe Community

The Forum will allow participants to post questions from their learning tracks, current financial news, or discuss any relevant financial topics. Upon signing up, mentors and mentees should abide by the guidelines for respectful and appropriate interactions between parties. Account will be taken off if any events occur.

Mentor Support

Elevate pairs the participant with a mentor that has expertise in the area that the mentor wishes to learn more about. The participant can schedule sessions with the mentor to discuss financial topics that they are insecure about, or discuss questions they have about their lessons learned on the Elevate platform.

Personal Financial Activity Tracking

Elevate participants will be able to track their financial expenses. They would receive notifications and analytics results to help them achieve their financial goals.

How we built it

Before we started implementing, we prototyped the workflow with Webflow. We then built the platform as a web application using html, CSS, JavaScript, and collaborated real-time using git.

Challenges we ran into

  • There are a lot of features to incorporate. However we were able to demonstrate the core concepts of our project - to make financing more inclusive.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • The idea of incorporating several features into one platform.
  • Deployed a demo web application.
  • The sophisticated design of the interface and flow of navigation.

What we learned

We learned about the gender parity in finance, and how technology can remove the barriers and create a strong and supportive community for all to understand the important role that finance plays in their lives.

What's next for Elevate

  • Partner with financial institutions to create and curate a list of credible learning tracks/resources for mentees
  • Recruit financial experts as mentees to help enable the program
  • Add credit/debit cards onto the system to make financial tracking easier. Security issues should be addressed.
  • Strengthen and implement the backend of the platform to include: Instant messaging, admin page to monitor participants

Resources and Citation

[1] 2020. REMOVING THE BARRIERS TO WOMEN’S FINANCIAL INCLUSION. [ebook] Toronto: Toronto Centre. Available at: https://res.torontocentre.org/guidedocs/Barriers%20to%20Womens%20Financial%20Inclusion.pdf.

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