Financial Inclusion Bootcamp

Problem Statement

Young women have lower levels of financial literacy and are an under-penetrated segment of the population for formal financial services. This materially impedes their ability to maintain financial security, invest for their/their families’ wellbeing, securing money for retirement and growing their wealth. 79% of women are anxious about their financial situation. Under-investing costs women up to $2.1mn over a lifetime.


The Financial Inclusion bootcamp aims to narrow the gender wealth gap that still affects a large portion of the population in the US through a target program of educational panels, access to financial literacy resources as well as mentorship opportunities.


Selected group of women students across NY-based colleges (Pilot school: Columbia University – undergraduate population).


  • The project will consist of panels focused on improving financial literacy as well as access to mentorship opportunities for female students (the sessions will be held virtually). The project will be run by the organizers (Ari, Nived, Kemi) as well as Shapers who have worked/work in the sector who will partner with external (non-shapers) speakers to conduct the sessions with the students. The plan is to create a depository of content in partnership with Aura that students can access through time and conduct panels on different themes across financial inclusion. Examples of topics that will be discussed: day-to-day budgeting, investing 101, ESG & Impact investing deep-dive, saving for pensions etc. The content created will be easy-to-digest for students (through infographics and digital solutions) and laser-focused on issues/challenges specifically affecting women (i.e confidence bias, under-investment in markets, higher debt levels etc).

  • The project will also have a mentoring system through which the students can be paired up with Shapers/selected working professionals who can act as a sounding board for decisions and create a positive feedback mechanism following the event. This is aimed at ensuring maximum impact from the sessions and long-lasting educational improvements. Through this positive feedback loop, the Shapers will act as ‘accountability partners’ to help the female students improve their financial literacy and achieve their financial goals over time with the ultimate long-term objective of improving financial health for women and narrowing the wealth gap for women in America.


  • Strong participation to the sessions (sessions to be held 1x/month; 80% participation rate to every session; students connecting to mentors 1x/month)

  • Positive feedback from a quick post-session survey

  • Opportunity to network with peers and build a build a support system to help each other

  • To improve participants’ confidence on their ability to make informed financial decisions

  • To build the foundational principles of financial literacy for young women approaching the workforce


  • Mindset change and ability to make better financial decisions 

  • To ultimately narrow the gender wealth gap affecting a large % of the population in the US

Available Metrics

  • Number of sessions held

  • Number of participating students

  • Number of referrals to the sessions coming from participating students

  • Students’ financial literacy improvements (test financial literacy before and after the classes through a target survey)

  • Feedback from students on their ability to stay within their monthly budget and invest their savings with a long-term horizon

  • Feedback from students on the panels (Zoom poll with 5 standard questions on the session – i.e Are you likely to recommend this to a friend? Did you enjoy the session?)

  • Feedback from students on their engagement within their communities outside University to share lessons learnt from the sessions


  • Aura

  • Columbia Women Society

  • Fellow Shapers outside the NY Hub with financial expertise