Lissele Pratt shortlisted for Young Businesswoman of the Year 2022

Lissele Pratt selected finalist for the Young Businesswoman of the Year 2022 at the Great British Businesswoman Awards

Lissele Pratt, Co-Founder and COO at Capitalixe, was shortlisted for “Young Businesswoman of the Year” at the Great British Businesswoman Awards 2022.

This is one of the most prestigious awards in the business world, and being a finalist is a testament to Lissele’s exceptional achievements. Her nomination is a recognition of her hard work and determination, and a validation of the impact she has made in the business world. Lissele’s profile has been previously recognised with titles like Forbes 30 under 30, Techround 29 under 29, Women in Finance Awards Finalist, and others.

Her dedication and hard work in the business world have earned her recognition and praise from industry experts and peers. With her innovative ideas and strategic thinking, she has made a significant impact in her field and established herself as a successful businesswoman. 

Lissele’s journey as a young entrepreneur began when she identified a gap in the market and founded her own company at just 23. Since then, she has been on a mission to disrupt the industry and bring positive change. Under her leadership, Capitalixe has grown rapidly and now operates globally, serving underserved industries with innovative banking and payment solutions. 

Lissele’s unwavering commitment to excellence and her passion for empowering young women in business have also made her a role model for many. She is a strong advocate for diversity and equality in the workplace and has created a lot of awareness around these values through speaking engagements and featured articles in leading publications such as Entrepreneur, The Fintech Times, Finextra, Fintech Futures, among others.  


Young Businesswoman of the Year

In this digital era, youthful business leaders are tech-savvy, socially aware game-changers who bring an audacious energy to the business landscape, sparking fresh competition and imaginative concepts. 

Nominees for the “Young Businesswoman of the Year” award, who must be 30 years or younger by July 19th, harnessed these qualities to attain a remarkable level of business achievement at a young age. Their tale will embody grit and resolve, highlighting instances of grasped opportunity and nimble reactions to the numerous challenges faced by those driven to succeed. 

Held last Thursday evening, 26th January, the Great British Businesswoman Awards has brought together the 2022 cohort of finalists, judges, partners and special guests to recognise, celebrate and support women in business, champion their peers and advocates, and help foster the next generation of female business leaders. 

Lissele Pratt was shortlisted alongside talented women in business such as Rachel Thomas, Natalie Porter, Jade Cohen & Brittany Harris, Millie Goodwin, Chiara Macarti Speranza, Nipuni Karunaratne, Lucie Rowley, Megan Gamble, and Laura Cooper-Jackson, who ultimately took home the award. 

The awards took place for the first time virtually last year, but the organisers made the event bigger and better this year by holding it in person at the De Vere Connaught Rooms in London. While Lissele was in Thailand and could not attend, she was well-represented by her team at the ceremony. 

Capitalixe team at the Great British Businesswoman Awards ceremony 2022
Capitalixe team at the Great British Businesswoman Awards ceremony 2022 (left to right): Elena Kovacheva, Caroline Moreno and Daniah Hafez.


About the Awards 

The Great British Businesswoman Awards is an annual celebration that recognises the accomplishments of women in the business world. The event gathers prominent business leaders, entrepreneurs, and industry experts to acknowledge the achievements of female business professionals. 

This year, 160 women have been selected as finalists for the second edition of the awards, including categories such as Construction Businesswoman, Social Enterprise Businesswoman, and Diversity Initiative of the Year. One of these finalists will be named the Great British Businesswoman of the Year, a title won last year by Leena Nair from Unilever. 

The awards were established to highlight the inspiring female innovators and leaders in various industries. Despite this recognition, the statistics still indicate a disparity between the number of men and women in top corporate positions. 

Studies estimate that if women held equal representation in leading businesses, it could add £250 billion to the UK economy. The awards aim to play a role in promoting the significance of having more women in prominent corporate roles, ultimately tapping into that untapped potential. 

“Celebrating and supporting women in business is not just for other women – if we want to see more women leaders in business, it will be strong collaboration between us all that achieves it. We’ve created these awards to reflect that, with categories honouring male advocates, corporate initiatives and teams that are empowering business women and championing equality and diversity”, said awards founder Francesca James.

Finalists and winners are encouraged to continue their involvement with the program after the awards ceremony by joining the growing alumni network, where they can connect with previous participants, learn, and exchange ideas.

Inspiring Women in Fintech: eWeek UK’s Interview with Lissele Pratt

Our co-founder Lissele Pratt spoke had the pleasure of being interviewed by Antony Peyton at eWeekUK for their Inspiring Women in Fintech series. Find the full article below. 

Lissele Pratt is the Director and Co-Founder at Capitalixe. The London-based firm provides

Along with that busy role, she is the co-founder of payments firm Pinnacle; co-founder and COO of Athena Founders, a community for female founders; and a mentor at the organisation Virgin StartUp.

How and where did you start your career in fintech?

I got my first job out of college at a brokerage firm. For the next few years, I worked as a Junior FX broker and learned everything I could about fintech from there. I didn’t attend university, as I wouldn’t say I liked the traditional schooling route, so the only way to learn was through work experience.

In this role, you wear many hats depending on your clients’ needs. I learned a lot about how the economy works, and also how the impact factors such as fiscal policy and interest rates play on economic performance. I was trained to identify these opportunities for my clients and propose strategies to help them mitigate their FX risk.

After some years of learning the ropes, I decided to launch my own startup with my co-founder Ivan Kovachev. Here, we help companies in high-risk industries obtain the latest financial technology and banking solutions. Since then, we’ve scaled our business to $800,000+ (£610,000+) in annual revenue in just under two years.

Are there any women in tech (or fintech) that have particularly inspired you?

Many women in fintech have inspired me, but the person who immediately pops to mind is Suneera Madhani, CEO and founder of Stax. She is a huge advocate of women’s empowerment and women in fintech. Within seven years of launching her company, she has grown Stax from a startup to processing over $9 billion (£6.8 billion) in payments.

Like me, Suneera is also a minority leader in the fintech industry, which was highly motivational to see when I had launched Capitalixe. She continues to break down barriers with her visibility. She shows people, especially women in fintech, that there are no limits to where you can go.

What’s the most pressing issue for women in fintech today?

I would definitely say that being resilient and developing a thick skin are important traits that are required to be a woman in fintech. You have to be able to stand up for yourself and not let other people’s views influence you and go after what you want.

I would also say be proactive in finding support, mentors, and female networking groups to learn from others. Because fintech is such a male-dominated industry, there may be times when you feel isolated, or like you are not getting the support you need. I can’t tell you the number of times I was left out of the ‘boys club’ and often felt unwelcomed on the trading floor.

Finally, never doubt that there is a place for women in this industry. The need for women to be involved is stronger than ever, so it’s important to remain positive and emotionally intelligent regardless of what obstacles you face on your journey.

How do you think fintech solutions can help advance women’s financial health?

According to research by the Transamerica Institute, men have thrice the total assets as women. This gap can be attributed to many factors but mainly because men invest more and tend to do it more often.

I believe that fintech is making strides for women’s financial empowerment by facilitating regular investing opportunities and building resilience through learning how to make good investments. I think automated applications are a great way forward for women because they provide the platform and tools to help them achieve financial goals depending on their risk level and interests.


Capitalixe: How is Cryptocurrency Revolutionising the Online Gambling Industry?

The online gambling industry is still relatively new, with the first internet gambling site introduced in the mid-90s. Although it’s still in its infancy, the market is growing rapidly. According to a report by Research and Markets, it is expected to reach $72.02 billion by the end of 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3%.

One of the main reasons for this growth is its willingness to adopt new technological advancements. Many industries remain wary of accepting these changes in fear that they will be detrimental to the future of their business. However, this isn’t the case with online gambling. Known for being the industry to take risks, online casinos and gambling sites constantly adopt new trends to meet the ever-changing demands of the market. 

As Co-Founder at Capitalixe, Lissele Pratt helps companies in high-risk industries obtain the latest financial technology and banking solutions. Here she shares her thoughts on how cryptocurrency is revolutionising the online gambling industry. 

Cryptocurrency & Online Gambling

Lissele Pratt, Director & Co-founder of Capitalixe

A recent trend in the online gambling industry has been the adoption of blockchain technology. Bitcoin paved the way for this change as the first blockchain-based currency adopted by casinos in May 2012. This was shortly followed by other popular digital currencies, including XRP Ripple and Ethereum. We’ve recently seen the emergence of new cryptocurrencies, specifically for the online gaming industry, such as CasinoCoin. 

Cryptocurrency casinos allow people to deposit money and withdraw their earnings in digital currencies. These casinos have completely revolutionised the industry as more people are reaping the benefits of their use.

Benefits of Casinos and Players Using Cryptocurrency

Increased Security

Many people who gamble online fear that they may be at risk of their banking information being stolen by fraudsters. This year, Experian found that the surge of online gambling during the global pandemic increased online fraudulent activity. 

Anyone who understands how cryptocurrency works will likely know some of the benefits of blockchain technology. Blockchain can be defined as a database of information that records the provenance of a digital asset in a way that makes it very difficult to change. It is a digital ledger of transactions and provides an open database of every transaction involving value.

This makes using this technology extremely secure. Cryptocurrency is easy to track as each transaction comes with its own unique identifier code. However, it is impossible to manipulate these transactions because all digital currencies are encrypted. This ensures that payments made using blockchain technology are safer than traditional currencies. It also reduces an internet users’ chance of making unauthorised transactions. 


Blockchain technology also offers users complete anonymity whilst they play. Because no identification is attached to a bitcoin wallet, players can feel secure knowing that nobody can obtain their personal information. Instead, they can focus solely on their games and not have to worry about other users seeing their progress. 

Online gaming also won’t have a negative effect on player’s credit scores or their chances of loaning money. Cryptocurrency will not be visible on any bank statements. When applying for a loan, banks will sometimes look through these statements to better understand spending habits. If they spot any gambling activity, they’re much more likely to refuse this loan. 


One of the most frustrating issues a player faces when gambling online is the number of hurdles they must jump through to receive their money. This is especially true when their payouts are made from international businesses. SWIFT payments can take anywhere between 1-5 working days to receive casino payouts, resulting in many players turning to brick-and-mortar stores rather than playing online. 

Playing with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin prevents users from waiting long periods of time to receive their winnings. Cryptocurrency winnings are transferred into a player’s digital wallet instantly so players can spend their winnings faster.


Because cryptocurrencies are decentralised, they do not have a governing body examining the validity of the transaction. When transactions are made with traditional currency, there are always additional costs and transaction fees required by banks. For example, if you use your credit card for gambling, you will be charged a cash advance. According to Finder, These transactions attract a cash advance fee between 3% and 5% and a high cash advance APR. This fee is considerably higher if it is an international transaction.

These additional costs apply both to the player and the casino. Gambling with cryptocurrency means that these fees are either removed entirely or significantly less. You can also convert this cryptocurrency into fiat currency without having to visit a bank. 

Final Thoughts 

The use of cryptocurrency is still widely debated. Some feel it is too unstable for the average investor; others believe it is the way of the future. But could the integration of cryptocurrency in online gambling be a perfect match? It would seem so.

Offering this payment option to players will allow online casinos to attract new clients and provide additional benefits to existing customers. In Addition, this digital currency appears to solve a lot of the problems facing the online gambling industry. Using cryptocurrency can be a faster, safer and more cost-efficient solution to both players and online casinos. 


Lissele Pratt, Founder of Capitalixe – Payment & Banking Solutions to Help Scale Your Business

As Co-Founder at Capitalixe, Lissele Pratt helps companies in high-risk industries such as crypto, gaming, and financial services obtain the latest financial technology, payments, and banking solutions. 

With 6+ years of experience in the financial services industry and her global perspective, the entrepreneurial-minded Lissele is a recognized expert in foreign exchange, payments, and financial technology. 

Lissele was the first-ever female to be awarded top salesperson at her previous company and has recently been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe Finance 2021 list.

Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)

Lissele Pratt: I’m currently working with some of the leading businesses in crypto, gaming, and financial institutions across the world. This is extremely exciting because many of my clients have been attained through my partnerships, referrals, and attending business events. Being a small business and working with these world-renowned clients takes a lot of hard work and commitment.

This year, this hard work was recognized, and both myself and my Co-founder Ivan Kovachev were listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Finance list in Europe. This has always been a dream of mine. I am an avid Forbes reader, and whenever the lists were published, I would always scroll through them all hoping that one day I’d be good enough to make it on there.


Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?

Lissele Pratt: Being a woman in a highly male-dominated industry was tough. A lot of my male co-workers were unsupportive of me throughout my finance career, and when I decided to launch my own company, many laughed and thought I would fail. I can recall several times where my colleagues told me “women don’t belong in this industry”

This made me doubt myself, and there were many times at the beginning of my career where I experienced imposter syndrome. Being a female founder, you need to have thick skin. Whenever I experience any self-doubt now, I remind myself of how much I have achieved. I channel all the negative comments from doubters into drive, and this helps me work even harder to achieve my goals.


Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?

Lissele Pratt: “Don’t start a business. What happens if you fail?”

In life, you will always come across people who put you down and doubt your abilities. As mentioned earlier, you must block out the naysayers. If you believe in your business and in yourself, you can and will succeed. I’ve found that self-belief and resilience are two of the most important qualities needed to be an entrepreneur. I left an extremely well-paid job in the city to launch Capitalixe. It was scary, and of course, there was always the chance that it wouldn’t work out. However, I firmly believe that with every mistake, comes a lesson. I embraced them and learned from them. I also truly believe that failure and success go hand in hand. If you’re not failing at anything then you’re not giving yourself opportunities for growth.


Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?

Lissele Pratt: To me, resilience is never giving up, regardless of how hard something may be. It’s being able to bounce back from mistakes and come back even stronger. As well as the ability to quickly recover from any setbacks you may face, and there will always be plenty along the journey!


When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?

Lissele Pratt: Over the next five years, I’m focusing on the implementation of our business growth and expansion strategy. I’d like to move from a small business to a medium-sized business, and there’s a lot of factors that will ensure this happens. This includes securing more clients and partners and extending our capabilities and offerings. To do this, I plan on scaling up my team, particularly on the business development side. I also plan on expanding to new jurisdictions and target sectors. So, I’ll be carrying out internal training sessions to ensure that everyone on my team is up to date with the recent trends in the payment sector.


You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?

Lissele Pratt: I would say business leaders need to possess determination, perseverance, and a positive mindset. All three qualities work hand in hand and are instrumental to a business’ success. Determination helps turn your dreams into a profitable business. So many people have these great ideas that they’re passionate about. Without determination, though, these are never implemented or followed through.

Perseverance is also key to success. You’ll never come across a business owner who said their journey was plain sailing. When you launch your own business, you’ll inevitably come across obstacles and have to overcome these. Don’t give up when the going gets tough. Persevere and you will succeed.

A positive mindset is the most important quality I believe entrepreneurs should possess. One of my favorite quotes reads, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” I honestly believe that your attitude can determine how successful you will be. As a business owner, this is now more important than ever. Attitude is contagious. If you’re optimistic and confident, the people around you are likely to be too. I try to set a good example for my team by avoiding negativity. Keep a positive mindset and you are more than likely to attract positive things into your life!


What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?

Lissele Pratt: I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that people buy into people. You can offer fantastic products or services, but if your clients or customers don’t have faith in you, as an individual, they’re unlikely to want you to work with them. Trust is the most crucial component here. It’s great that your clients like you, but they need to trust you and feel confident in your abilities. Building your personal brand to position yourself as a thought –leader in your industry is crucial.


What’s your favorite leadership style and why?

Lissele Pratt: There’s this famous proverb that says, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” It’s important for me that, instead of telling my team what to do, I help them find the answers for themselves. I do this by asking them questions. I think as a business leader, it’s important to ask your employees ‘why’ they’ve come to a confident decision or solution. I strongly believe that if you always provide your team with the answers, you’re enabling them to always seek you out for a solution. This stops them from being able to tackle problems themselves and limits productivity.


What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?

Lissele Pratt: There’s no time like the present. If you believe you have a great idea, don’t put it off. I launched my business when I was 23. I questioned whether I should wait a little longer until I had more experience. Luckily, I went for it and am now running a successful business and following my dreams. You can always find reasons why now isn’t the right time to start a business. Maybe you have a young child, or you don’t think you have the money to invest in your company yet. But there will always be barriers. So why wait?

If you are worried about not having enough income to fund and sustain your new business, I would suggest starting it off as a side hustle alongside your full-time job. This way, you’ll have money coming in whilst you’re building up your business.


What’s your favorite “business” quote and how has it affected your business decisions?

Lissele Pratt: There’s a quote by Brian Tracy which I have stuck on the wall above my desk. It says, “There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” There have been many times where I’ve doubted myself. But this quote reminds me that I am capable, and I just need to believe it. As humans, we’re programmed to fear the unknown and do not believe in ourselves. It’s important to constantly train your mind out of these ways of thinking.


Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Lissele Pratt for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Lissele Pratt or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page

Women in Fintech: YAP Global, Cake DeFi, Xero, the Access Group, TPAY MOBILE, Capitalixe

This October at The Fintech Times we are championing the fantastic females in the fintech industry. Around 30% of the fintech workforce are women, and we want to spotlight those who have not only made it to the top, but those who have overcome hurdles, bulldozing a path for the women to follow.

Here we hear from Samantha YapBettina HospAnna CurzonAndrea DunlopSahar Salama and Lissele Pratt as they share how they paved the way for others to follow.

Samantha Yap, CEO and Founder of YAP Global

Samantha Yap, CEO and Founder, YAP Global

“Actions speak louder than words, and I believe by staying focused on building up my firm, I am paving the way for women and minority groups to do the same in the DeFi, Crypto, and PR space. While stereotypes exist in varying degrees, I have never let my race or gender limit what I am able to achieve, and I feel others should not as well.

“Although it is not an external ironclad policy, my team and I will always go the distance especially for panel discussions and press coverage, to ensure that deserving speakers get equal opportunities to shine as thought leaders. This is often more challenging as it takes more time, as we want to weigh all factors and select by merit, but also want to take the chance to elevate those who are underrepresented.

“Internally, for hiring and training employees, we at YAP Global have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, and recognition is given fairly based on effort and achievements. I also embrace global diversity by leveraging the different skills sets and experiences of team members, which is a big part of how I’ve been able to expand from five to 20 plus employees from Australia, the UK US, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Germany, and India in just one year.

“In essence, let the quality of your work and accomplishments, and your values as a person define you rather than your race or gender, and you will steadily and surely empower underrepresented groups.”

Bettina Hosp, VP, Operations of Cake DeFi

Bettina Hosp, VP, Operations of Cake DeFi

“I think it’s difficult to take credit for something like this. In an ideal world, every employer is a fair employer — one that ensures that hires are made based on the person’s ability to do the job, and not because of their race, gender or religious beliefs.

“At Cake DeFi, our ‘rope ladder’ consists of progressive initiatives and policies that enable a safe, friendly, and highly flexible work culture. Everyone at Cake DeFi has the opportunity and the right to express their opinions and they are encouraged to share them openly and often, which enables us to understand ways in which we can improve to better support them. We also like to think that we empower our people to forge their own paths to leadership, not simply by working hard and smart, but also by expressing unique ideas that have the ability to positively impact their team and the company. You could say that we operate on a meritocratic basis, with zero tolerance for any work-based discrimination and prejudice.”

Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, at Xero

Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, at Xero

“One of the biggest challenges many women in technology face is the unconscious gender bias that comes with being a minority in your field. In my early years, I often struggled to connect with my colleagues because I was a single mother and everyone on the leadership team was male. I often didn’t see people like me around the table. Relationship building and business was done in the evenings over drinks and it was inaccessible to me. “As I learned more about the importance of diversity and inclusion and the evidence published about the benefits, the more confidence I grew. I realised the lens I was providing was really important and that being the odd one out in the room meant that you were probably the most valuable because of your unique perspective. It’s irrefutable that having a gender balance leads to better business outcomes, greater profitability and value creation so I do everything I can to ensure my team realises the same thing and can reap the benefits of being afforded equal opportunity.“One of the biggest challenges many women in technology face is the unconscious gender bias that comes with being a minority in your field. In my early years, I often struggled to connect with my colleagues because I was a single mother and everyone on the leadership team was male. I often didn’t see people like me around the table. Relationship building and business was done in the evenings over drinks and it was inaccessible to me.

“I remember when one of our long-serving female product leaders came to me because she was so convinced that we needed to build a cash flow forecasting tool to help our customers. I backed her conviction, purpose-led drive and data-orientated proposal to make a real difference to the lives of our small business customers and as it happened, once the global pandemic hit, cash flow became even more critical for the survival of businesses. Because our product leader foresaw this need and we supported her in meeting it, we were able to provide the first iteration of our short-term cash flow tool to all our businesses and partners at no cost during the pandemic.

“We need to create business environments where everyone can thrive. This is particularly important in the tech sector, where women and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have historically been shut out of this world. This means enabling people to think critically and understand their privilege and how they can actively use it to ensure everyone feels included. Today, over 60% of the global leadership team at Xero are women and I’m proud that 50% of my product leadership team are women. We have programs in place to foster an inclusive and equitable workplace and this changes everything. For example, it is a requirement for any leadership role at Xero to undertake unconscious bias training and this year we also launched our D&I Leadership training so that all our managers know how to create and lead diverse teams. This is one of the reasons why Xero is included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second consecutive year. I also believe it’s why my team is the most effective and highly performing team I have worked with in my career.

“Thinking of this important cause, I’m reminded of a quote from Michelle Obama‘s Mum in her book, Becoming – “Bullies are scared people hiding inside scary people” – and that’s why this year, I’m committed to offering everyone in my team the opportunity to undertake Ally Training so we can better understand our individual power and privileges – and learn how to use them for the benefit of others. We are all responsible for creating a safe environment for those around us and I encourage everyone to do an ally training course — it will not only change your life but also the lives of those around you.”

Andrea Dunlop, Managing Director of the Payment Division at the Access Group

Andrea Dunlop, Managing Director of the Payment Division at the Access Group

“I recognised that in my early career I had been focused on my own career, juggling the challenges, and learning and struggling to navigate the ever-increasing politics of senior leadership.  I started to look for help, and it was in that process of looking for help myself that I started to see the same themes come up time and again.  The types of experience that I was having were common among many women, I wanted to make a difference not only within my own company but much wider within the industry but just didn’t know how to affect that change.

“I talked through these challenges for women with Tony Craddock, Director General of the Payments Association and we determined that networking for women was a major gap.  We agreed to hold an event and invite several people from across the industry, both men and women, to attend with the purpose of asking women what they want out of networking events as a fact-finding mission. This started, I think, a process within me on how I could use my position to raise awareness of the challenges faced by diverse groups, not just within my own company but across the industry and make a difference. To a large extent, in the early days of this process it was about creating events focused around key areas to help develop people, and to promote mentorship and sponsorship across the industry.

“The events helped us to create on-going and self-supporting platforms which helped people build confidence, share knowledge and insight.  At these events, I became increasingly confident to talk about my own challenges and struggles and it opened a door to meet new people and to widen my impact on supporting others.  From that first networking event to now, I mentor men and women not only within my own organisations but across industry and even back to my old days of serving in the Military,  supporting  groups likes  Ex Military Jobs, Ex Military Careers, Jobs for Ex Military Personnel which is focused on helping servicemen and women to make the jump from the military into civilian roles. In fact one of my mentees is ex-military and he is doing so well in his career in banking now – it’s very inspiring.

“There is no doubt that the way in which I help to make a difference has evolved, and while I still do many gender-led initiatives and belong to many groups like European Women Payments Network (EWPN), I also act as a sponsor for many helping people helping navigate into new roles. I’m also a co-founder of Investfem helping women to raise funding for their businesses.  I have also used my experiences to help people through grievance processes in the industry, leveraging my own personal experience of being involved in grievances as a manager, and also my own experience of raising grievances.  These can be lonely and stressful situations for many people and I’m pleased to be able to listen and give pragmatic support to help people navigate very difficult situations.

“I do rather unashamedly leverage my network to help others, and there is nothing better than helping to lift others up and see people move on to bigger and better.

“I will always be grateful for those first steps I made and the people that helped kickstart my journey which in turn has enabled me to create my own power network of supporters. I have to say that I personally don’t feel I would be where I am today without all those people that have supported me and continue to support me today.  It has taken some time to create that rope ladder for others but it is definitely there in new networking organisations, support networks, and the skills and experiences that I share and I’m proud to do this every day.”

Sahar Salama, CEO of TPAY MOBILE

Sahar Salama, CEO of TPAY MOBILE

“There have been positive strides in the drive for workplace diversity, yet for both women and overlooked minority groups, there are still huge inclusion gaps. The question remains, how do we actively change this? How do we encourage a broader, more diverse demographic to show an interest in and enter the fintech world?

“In my experience, the latter is answered by not only focusing on attracting talent but on retention strategies for diverse backgrounds. At TPAY MOBILE, we work hard to promote an inclusive work culture, ensuring resources are purposely allocated to the recruitment of all groups to fill senior positions, and not only encouraging but empowering any group who faces pervasive disadvantage in the broader society to stand up for themselves and what they believe in.

“The lack of parity in the fintech space is partly driven by the belief of some that women, as well as racial and ethnic groups, lack the aptitude or skills to succeed in the fintech industry, particularly at a senior level. This underestimation can be extremely demotivating for those working in fintech and even lead to them walking away from their role, and indeed, the workforce.

“To overcome this obstacle, I have implemented anti-discrimination policies to endorse diversity (like training employees in implicit bias) and accountability practices (like implementing a formal reporting system for discrimination). TPAY MOBILE promotes a culture of effective policy compliance across the organisation. I also ensure that as a company, we offer diversity mentoring and professional development programs to help minority groups who want to gain more experience and move up the career ladder in fintech. It is important to have role models to look up to – but these are not always easy to find.

“At TPAY MOBILE, the message that I pass on to those below is to have confidence. It’s important for people who are breaking into the fintech market to believe in themselves and speak up for their ideas. Regardless of experience, each one of us always has something valuable to add and contribute.”

Lissele Pratt, Director and Co-founder, Capitalixe

Lissele Pratt, Director & Co-founder, Capitalixe

“This year I implemented entry-level traineeships at Captalixe, specifically targeted at young women who want to work in finance. Gender diversity is extremely low in this field, and these roles are still very much male-dominated. According to a study carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority, women only make up 17% of FCA-approved individuals. I think it’s imperative to give young women the opportunity to thrive in a finance career. Our first entry-level trainee starts this month, and I plan on making more traineeships available as we continue to grow and scale our business.  “Capitalixe does not require any of our recruits to hold a bachelor’s degree. I’m incredibly hands-on with training my team and believe that anyone can thrive in this industry through hard work and dedication. As a child, I moved around a lot. Before the age of 15, I had lived in Thailand, Spain and England. Because of this, I missed out on a lot of schooling. I wasn’t the biggest fan of school work and knew that university and the traditional schooling route wasn’t for me. Because of this, I understand that, regardless of what educational background you have, it’s still possible to succeed if you are passionate. If I wasn’t given the opportunity to work as a Junior FX Broker at the age of 18, I would likely not be where I am today.“This year I implemented entry-level traineeships at Captalixe, specifically targeted at young women who want to work in finance. Gender diversity is extremely low in this field, and these roles are still very much male-dominated. According to a study carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority, women only make up 17% of FCA-approved individuals. I think it’s imperative to give young women the opportunity to thrive in a finance career. Our first entry-level trainee starts this month, and I plan on making more traineeships available as we continue to grow and scale our business. 

“I’m also a huge advocate for mentoring. I hold monthly mentoring meetings with each and every one of my team, where we discuss their progress and whether they would like additional training. I also mentor two young women interested in entrepreneurship. At present, I hold monthly video calls with them to discuss their goals, ambitions, and I answer any questions they may have. Then, we set out monthly goals and work towards achieving them. These goals could be anything from creating user personas to confidence-building activities like writing down daily affirmations and also working on their needle movers in the business. Recently, one of my mentees launched her own business. It’s been brilliant to see her idea turn into a reality, and I’m excited to help her with its future growth.

“Finally, I recently launched a mastermind group for aspiring entrepreneurs on WhatsApp. Here, we focus on collaboration, brainstorming and peer accountability. People challenge each other to set strong goals and hold them accountable for achieving them. This has proven to be really successful in inspiring these young aspiring entrepreneurs.”

How can female leaders in fintech pave the way for the next generation of women?

The fintech industry continues to struggle with a gender gap that sees women making up just 30% of the fintech workforce.

Fintechs must do more for the next generation of women in the industry to follow

In recent years, fintech has been seen as an exciting and dynamic sector. There are plenty of opportunities for career progression, high salaries and even the chance to bring about significant social change.

Despite this, many female employees cite harassment or bullying at work. In their charter, InChorus revealed that 85% of harassment-related incidents in UK fintech were related to gender, and 84% of victims were harassed more than once.

This shows that fintech is still not an industry where women can feel welcome and safe enough to progress.

As more women fight for their place in this male-dominated industry, business owners, directors, senior leaders and managers must create a rope ladder for the next generation of women in this industry to follow. Here are five ways they can do this:

1. Gender-diverse hiring practices and implicit bias training

One of the most effective ways to ensure a more representative fintech workforce is, of course, by hiring women. However, female founders and managers must also go beyond simply hiring women – they need to seek out female talent across all levels of their company, from junior roles right up to director-level roles.

In addition to this, fintech leaders must tackle implicit bias in the industry head-on. Implicit biases can influence our behaviour without realising it, and 80% of CEOs interviewed in a recent survey recognised a need for diversity within their organisations.

With AI-assisted technology like training programs on unconscious prejudices, it becomes easier than ever before to step back from day-to-day operations, so we all have room.

2. Mentoring

Mentoring is a process of providing guidance to another person, especially by an experienced, more senior person or expert on how they can acquire skills and knowledge.

Women who work in fintech should actively be offering their time as mentors for women entering into the industry so that both parties get something out of it – the mentee gets valuable advice while having someone with insider connections guide them through their job search.

Meanwhile, this helps seasoned professionals learn what needs fixing when it comes down to recruiting new talent.

3. Adopting flexible working practices and parental leave policies

The demand for childcare services has risen sharply in recent years thanks to changing work lives. Offering flexible working and parental leave initiatives are fantastic ways fintech leaders can pave the way for the next generation of women in fintech.

For many women, flexible working hours are critical in allowing them to juggle the increasingly essential responsibilities of a career and motherhood. A recent study revealed that nearly half of mothers don’t get the flexibility they ask for in the workplace.

When applied to fintech, remote working is an effective way for many women to work without compromising their careers/ family life. Several firms have been praised for their open and flexible working environments, which has helped them become leaders in the industry.

4. Traineeships and apprenticeship programmes for women 

Many fintech companies are failing to offer women fintech applicants the chance to get their foot in the fintech door. By fostering female talent through traineeships or apprenticeship programs, leaders can provide women with an entry point into the industry by laying down their own framework as future applicants follow suit.

5. Creating digital communities for women in fintech to network

Fintech companies must create digital communities for women working in fintech – whether they are fintech founders or workers – to network with other like-minded professionals. These networks can be used as a platform for sharing advice and information about how to succeed, posting upcoming job roles and even advertising your services as a mentor.

There are plenty of networking groups fintech founders and workers can join to help them network with women fintech professionals. A quick Google search will help you find the best programmes that highlight the achievements of female fintech pioneers and offer advice and support on how other fintech leaders can encourage gender diversity.