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Chicago Innovation Award Winner

BMO Harris

Winner in: 2020
Winning Product: WMN FINtech
Winner Category: People's Choice Award
Industry: Financial

WMN•FINtech is an accelerator and mentorship program for financial technology (“fintech”) start-ups founded/co-founded by women, created by BMO Harris Bank and 1871. WMN•FINtech was designed to help bridge the gender gap in the fintech sector and give more women entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring cutting-edge technology and products forward. This gap is manifested in the funding disparity faced by fintech firms founded by women, and in unequal gender representation in the fintech workforce and leadership.

Women founders are crucial to Chicago’s economy through jobs and innovative solutions. BMO’s financial subject matter expert mentors provided valuable input to guide the future development of the start-up’s products. In addition, 1871’s PYROS programming offered the start-ups with “Launch stage” curriculum focused squarely on the needs of tech companies at this stage. Founders in the WMN•FINtech cohort also received connections to venture capital and other investors.

WMN•FINtech creates value for the financial industry, the economy, and people’s lives by fostering the creation of financial solutions that are more inclusive. One way to ensure more people’s financial needs are met is for a more diverse group of leaders and designers to be involved in their creation.

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