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WEBINAR: Data and AI driving diversity in SME Lending

19 April 2023
9 : 00
10 : 00
WEBINAR: Data and AI driving diversity in SME Lending

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This webinar is organized in partnership with our member Uplinq 




Considerable cultural, economic, and regulatory differences exist around the world that affect accessibility to capital and in particular the opportunity for women and those underserved to launch and grow thriving businesses. Therefore, it should be no surprise that effective solutions to overcome these challenges are best formulated with particular attention to these differences that are unique to each country, lender, borrowers, and loan type. 

While the challenges may be unique for each lender, there is good news. The process for diagnosis and treatment is highly codified, scientific, reproducible to virtually any market and lender in a way that delivers high performance and regulatory compliance. 

During this session, we will discuss how to overcome these challenges on 3 fronts:

  • Product and Marketing Fitment 

The traditional door to door sales officer engagement model almost assures a strategy of perpetuating exclusionary practices. Furthermore, there is a need to adapt loan offering and availability of credit.

  • Underwriting and Relationship Management 

Traditional subjective and “expert” underwriting tend to favor the ‘well know and familiar’ and that induces bias toward male-dominated businesses and other established profiles of business success.

  • Training, and Mentorship 

First-time entrepreneurs, those without formal business training, first-time formal borrowers and many others can greatly benefit from mentorship which can be the missing link between success and failure.




Elaine MacEachernSr. Financial Sector Specialist at World Bank Group

Elaine is currently a Global Specialist on the Secured Transactions and Asset Based Lending ( ST/ABL) team for WBG’s financial infrastructure secured lending product based in Washington, DC.  Elaine works with WBG clients in the Asia and Africa regions extensively and regularly contributes to the ongoing Financial Inclusion development agenda of ASEAN and APEC Financial Infrastructure Development Network (FIDN) working groups, as well as the UNCITRAL (Asia Chapter).  Elaine has over twenty years of public and private sector experience in legislative reform projects, specifically in the area of secured transactions/public policy development, movable property registry implementation and development of movable asset-based lending markets in emerging market economies. 


Patrick Reily, CEO - Uplinq Financial Technologies 

Patrick is an elite mathematician, economist and 30+ year FI veteran. He is an early AI pioneer in financial services, a frequent speaker at the G20 & World Bank and a consultant to the US Fed Reserve. Pat is a co-founder at Uplinq, with a mission of working with small business lenders globally to extend working capital into the hands of small business owners worldwide. Uplinq is the first, global alternative credit scoring & assessment platform for SMB Lenders.

Leveraging insights & analytics derived from over $1.4 Trillion in underwritten loans & 10,000+ data sources over a 15-year period, Uplinq empowers SMB lenders to approve and manage risk on loans they would have otherwise declined based on traditional underwriting criteria, by incorporating billions of environmental, market & community data to understand the loan applicant better. Uplinq’s proven credit diagnostic solution enables lenders to say “Yes” more often, while lowering risk, improving margins and ensuring regulatory compliance.

Mario Schlener, Leader Financial Services Risk Management (FSRM) Practice and Enterprise Risk Strategy Canada and Global FS Risk Technology/Alliance/Innovation Lead - Ernst & Young

Mario leads EY’s Financial Services Risk Management and Enterprise Risk Strategy Practice in Canada and Co-leads EY’s AI model performance platform product “ShEYzam”. Mario is also part of the Global Leadership team for the FS Risk Consulting practice and contributes to several global regulatory initiatives on AI Fairness, Explainability, Privacy, Digital Assets and Open banking. He brings over 25 years of experience in advising banks and/or bad banks in restructuring their portfolios, developing hedging strategies for increasing risk-/return profile in their portfolio structures; in developing/validating qualitative and quantitative risk- (incl. credit, market, CCR, ALM and OpRisk), rating- (AIRB, EC, IFRS9) and capital markets- (incl. XVA,VAR) models, in leading ERM transformation projects for GSIB’s and DSIB’s.

Ayo Olojede, Group Head, Emerging Businesses - Access Bank

Ayo has over 20 years of operational banking experience in Africa and North America at HSBC and Skye Bank (now Polaris) prior to joining Access Bank. She is very passionate about the sustainable growth of MSMEs and possesses strong knowledge and hands on experience of best practices in SME banking, value propositions and risk management approaches to expand financial access to SMEs and women led businesses. Her work has achieved recognition for “best in class” SME specific credit assessment methodology both locally and internationally to expand lending to “new to Borrowing” SMEs. She is a member of the bank’s Digital Council which has overall responsibility for the bank’s digital strategy, approved partnership with fintech companies and monitoring the implementation of digital initiatives.  She is a university scholar, a Fellow Chartered Accountant and holds an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management, Evanston. She speaks globally on SME Finance and Business services.


Mehi MirpourianData Science Manager - Women's World Banking

Mehi leads the organization's efforts to create a global finance system that is more gender-inclusive. Mehi contributes to this goal through two distinct work streams. First, by designing innovative gender-aware financial products using machine learning. Second, by engaging in thought leadership practices that can influence financial policies and advocating for evidence-based best practices.

Before joining Women’s World Banking, Mehi worked as a Statistician, specializing in fraud analytics, at the New York City Department of Finance. Mehi holds an MS in Statistics from Baruch College, an MS in Management Engineering from Polytechnic University of Milan, and a BS in Industrial Engineering and Optimization from K.N.Toosi University of Technology.

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Financial InclusionNon Financial ServicesAlternative FinancingGender FinanceYouth Entrepreneurship