As The Fintech Times celebrates Women in Fintech this September, we take a moment to hear more from some of its leading females.
Neha Mehta was born in the Indian city of Agra famous for the iconic Taj Mahal, Neha grew up in the capital city of India, Delhi. Having grown up in an Indian middle-class family, she lived patriarchal culture firsthand, but her parents instilled her with a lot of confidence so she never felt disadvantaged because of her gender. Although she began as a lawyer, she later made a switch to finance and fintech, and finally decided to jump onto the bandwagon and ride the fintech wave in early 2017. She has worked in different areas of finance such as hedge funds, private equity, venture capital.
In 2018, Neha decided that she had a higher calling – to boost the presence of women in the fintech sector and drive financial inclusion for women. She wanted to help young girls achieve their dreams and never let money be a reason why they couldn’t. In her career, she saw two major challenges for females looking to advance their careers in fintech: one, access to the required funding needed to start a business or any entrepreneurial activity, and two, a greater need for education on the prerequisite technology skills. As a result, she decided to quit the corporate world and set up her own consulting firm – this is when FemTech Partners was born. The goal was to create a platform that would give women the impetus to come forward and work in the fintech sector. As part of her work in FemTech Partners, she mentors young women on a pro bono basis to help them to find opportunities in fintech.
Was it an easy journey? Certainly not. With no experience running a business and winging it alone, there was a fair amount of uncertainty and insecurities from the risks involved. But Neha chose to focus on what she did have rather than what she didn’t. The journey also required a lot of being thick-skinned: she had to knock on all doors, grab at every opportunity, take full advantage of social media and actively seek mentors. But she held on to one strong belief through it all: that challenges come to those who are capable of overcoming them.
Some of Neha’s key career highlights include being the Team Lead for the £1.2 billion Prosperity Fund (PF) for Southeast Asia, working with PYXERA Global alongside BlackRock on a social challenge on financial inclusion for migrant workers and foreign domestic workers, and founding the ASEAN Women in Payments Network (AWPN). She was also one of Singapore’s 100 Women in Tech 2020, one of Asia’s 50 Most Influential Women in Renewable Energy, 2020, and featured in FinTech 50, 2019. Additionally, Neha was a recipient of the Nav Shakti Award at 11th National Women Excellence Award 2018, conferred by the Indo European Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises (IECSME), for her contribution to female empowerment. Earlier, Neha was also Global People’s Fellow 2018 (an initiative by the United Nations towards the fulfilment of SDGs), where she represented Singapore working on financial inclusion. She was also a Chevening Financial Services Fellow, 2017 and studied financial risk management at Kings College, London.
Moving forward, Neha would like to continue her efforts post-COVID to help migrant workers in Singapore. Regionally, she would like to help women go digital, especially SME business owners. She would also like to continue empowering women and youth through Fintech and help more women kickstart their careers in the Fintech space. Diversity Q had this to say about her: “young women in developing economies have a champion in Neha Mehta who is aiming to boost their presence in the fintech sector and drive financial inclusion.” She strives to continue living up to these words.