AIR and the Reserve Bank of India’s Innovation Hub Partner on Swanari TechSprint to Advance Digital Financial Inclusion for Women in India

Financial Inclusion TechSprint, White Paper Released to Ideate Digital Solutions to Bridge the Gender Gap

Washington, DC – March 2, 2022: AIR, the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, announced today that RBIH, Reserve Bank of India Innovation Hub, has launched a TechSprint in collaboration with AIR that is aimed at advancing digital financial inclusion for women in India. The inaugural Swanari (स्व-नारी) TechSprint in India will connect fintechs, financial service providers, innovators and subject matter experts to collaborate, ideate and solve specific problems and code prototype solutions in real time. Swanari is Swanirbhar Nari meaning Self Reliant Lady. An RBIH white paper entitled Gender and Finance in India supporting the program is also now available.

“Women form a disproportionately large share of the world’s unbanked and underserved population, with nearly a billion women without access to financial services products,” says Jo Ann Barefoot, AIR CEO and co-founder. “The Swanari event will be AIR’s first TechSprint held in South Asia and we’re thrilled to partner with Reserve Bank of India Innovation Hub (RBIH) to advance women’s economic empowerment locally,” she continues.

TechSprints are intense problem-solving sessions designed to facilitate innovation and promote collaboration between regulators and technologists to create digital solutions to difficult problems. AIR is an experienced TechSprint leader, having conducted many events to ideate solutions for a variety of problems. Those include a Women’s Economic Empowerment TechSprint, which was held in both the U.S. and U.K. in 2021 in partnership with the Financial Conduct Authority.

RBIH is hosting the Swanari TechSprint 18-22 April 2022 along with core program partners AIR, CIIE.CO – The Innovation Continuum, and MSC – MicroSave Consulting to create and produce smart, creative and sustainable solutions for underserved, low- and middle-income (LMI) women, and women-owned enterprises in India. Seven problem statements have been identified and two event tracks are available for Indian nationals and start-ups looking to participate. Registration is now open for local participants and volunteers, as well as non-local observers to join the inspiration community, at

“Financial inclusion of women is particularly important for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. With greater control over their financial lives, women can help themselves and their families to come out of poverty; reduce their risk of falling into poverty; eliminate their exploitation from the informal sector; and increase their ability to fully engage in measurable and productive economic activities,” says Shri Shaktikant Das, RBI governor.

AIR TechSprints are at the core of AIR’s work to make impactful change. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about AIR’s Global Anticorruption TechSprint in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of the Treasury supporting Summit for Democracy. Other AIR TechSprints address anti-money laundering and human trafficking, crypto and child sexual abuse materials, and digital regulatory reporting.

About AIR

AIR is a nonprofit, non-membership organization working to make the financial system fully inclusive, fair and resilient through responsible use of new technology. By connecting regulation, finance, technology and society, AIR drives global innovation and collaboration to overcome the system’s legacy shortcomings and prepare it for rapid technology change.

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About RBIH

The Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote and facilitate an environment that accelerates innovation across the financial sector. RBIH intends to foster and evangelize innovation across the financial sector to enable a billion Indians access to suitable, sustainable financial products in a secure and frictionless manner. In addition, RBIH intends to create internal capabilities through applied research and expertise in the latest technology. The hub plans to collaborate with financial sector institutions, policy bodies, the technology industry, and academic institutions and coordinate efforts to exchange ideas and develop prototypes related to financial innovations.

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