The PwC Challenge: Banking the “Unbankable”

Financial Inclusion Puzzle. Apply before August 28th, 2018

Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion can help reduce poverty and inequality by helping people invest in the future, manage financial risks, and even prevent them from falling into poverty in the first place.
In multiple studies conducted across the world, there is growing evidence that financial inclusion creates more stable financial systems and economies, mobilizing domestic resources through savings and helps boost government revenue. Striving for financial inclusion is central to economic growth, reducing inequalities, poverty and giving currently financially excluded individuals access to better and affordable opportunities.


Rules of competition

Who can participate?
  • Open to all ITAM students that have completed at least 24 courses (or 4 semesters)

  • Teams must be composed of exactly 4 students

  • A multi-disciplinary team is necessary, at least students from 2 different courses

  • Teams must select one or a combination of the below case study options to solve

What are key dates?
  • Competition Launch Event: August 21, 2018; 19:00 h
  • Queries Session: August 22, 2018; 14:30 h

  • Registration of the team by: August 28, 2018; 23:59 h

  • Submission of the business model for evaluation at the end of Phase 1: September 21, 2018; 23:59 h

  • Declaration of the results and selection of the Top 5 teams: September 28, 2018

  • Submission of the business model for evaluation at the end of Phase 2: October 29, 2018; 23:59 h

  • Presentation of the business model and the last day of the competition: November 8, 2018; 17:30 h

  • Declaration of results and distribution of prizes: November 8, 2018

  • Scheduling of 1-1 session with Fintech Startupbootcamp: November 15, 2018. Note - These meetings may take place late November or early December

How can we participate?

Students who wish to participate must register in teams of four students by sending one e-mail per team with the names, student ID, email, degree and the semester of each of the team members. Additionally, individual ITAM Internal Acceptance forms must be signed and submitted to complete the registration process.

One of the team members will act as a representative of the team, which need to be indicated in the email as well. All applications must be sent to Alicia Sosa to the email address

Only teams who meet the criteria and send a complete application before August 28th  will be registered to participate in the competition.

After registration, teams will receive a confirmation email. Upon reception of the confirmation email, students must select one or a combination of the case study options to resolve (Credit Access, Payment Methods, and Insurance Inclusion) and develop an innovative solution  for the BoP (Bottom of the Pyramid) in the form of a business model. The business model document must be handed in by the dates shown below.

The best 5 business models will be selected to go on to the second phase and refine their models with individual support from a PwC Manager with expertise in Financial Services.

The Case Study option document is available for download at the bottom of the web page.

Internal Acceptance ITAM / EPIC Lab

1. Students must download, read, and sign the ITAM’s Internal Acceptance Form at the time of registration.

2. Each team member must sign the form and submit it at the time of registration.


Format and Length

For the first stage, the students are expected to submit a PowerPoint presentation including the sections mentioned in the subsequent sections.  

For the top 5 teams selected to participate in phase 2 the final length of their business model document (.PDF) must be less 8000 words.

  • The font used will be Georgia

  • Font size 11

  • 1.5 line spacing

  • 1 inch margins all around

  • This line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets

The written model may include up to 6 additional pages of appendices.

The business model documents must be in PDF standard format. Any other formats will not be acceptable.

All pages must be numbered excluding the cover page. The cover page must include the venture name, the name of the team members and their emails.




Case Study Options

Access to credit

Credit access is a big concern within financial inclusion. Besides holding an account, getting access to credit is not an option for many people living in small communities or rural areas with little or no access to mainstream financing options to aspire to develop or grow their businesses or financial personal needs. Some of the main concerns regarding credit access is estimating the credit worthiness, distribution, pricing and access to alternative data sources for granting credit.

Payments Methods (sending and receiving payments)

The increasing numbers of mobile devices have allowed a new class of payment service providers and solutions. These services scale much faster than traditional payment services at much lower transaction costs. When electronic payment methods are used,  payment networks and the data generated from the payment transactions can be leveraged to roll out other financial services, in particular, credit.

Financial inclusion is often discussed in terms of expanding access of traditional financial products, like credit or accounts, to the underserved, but very little is said about the payments industry, which can be a great enabler to improve financial inclusion.



In countries where large portions of their population live under the poverty line, insurance in crucial for development. In India, for example, healthcare spending without insurance pushes 50.6 million people below the poverty line. Insurance is a starting point in preventing crisis and can help deliver better life quality to the low-income population.

Major insurers are becoming increasingly active, providing coverage to low-income populations. Recent advancements in mobile technology make servicing these segments more financially viable than in the past.  



Phase 1

Teams must hand in a first document (Business Model)  in a PowerPoint format on the day indicated in the timeline contained in this document. This will be reviewed and evaluated by PwC and ITAM judging panel, They choose 5 plans to continue in the competition. The 5 chosen plans will further develop their ideas and improve their business plans with support from experienced PwC financial services practitioners.

The business plan must contain all of the sections below to be considered complete and admitted for review. Any business plan missing one or more sections will be considered incomplete and disqualified from the competition.


Phase 1 Deliverable structure
For the first phase of the competition teams must hand in a  PowerPoint document containing:

1. Executive Summary
The executive summary must not be longer than 2 slides. It should describe the business idea, social mission, target market and size, and target clients. After reading this section the reader should be able to understand the market opportunity and get an overview of the proposed business. 

2. Business Overview
The business overview must contain:

  • Business model: The use of a Business Model Canvas is recommended (see Reading List)

  • Value proposition (financial and social): The use of Value Proposition Canvas is recommended (see reading list)

  • Vision: What kind of a mark you want to make on the world with your business, and how you see that business developing into the future.
  • Feasibility Analysis


3. Market Opportunity

  • Describe and define the problem and estimate the size of the market in Mexico  - Market size, analysis and forecast

  • Industry analysis and forecast (Comparative Analysis, find a company in a similar space around the world and compare your model with them)

  • Competitive Analysis (analysis of the current competition and assessment of why the problem is not being solved by competitors)

  • Scalability (explain how is your proposition scalable beyond initial state)



Phase 2

Teams selected to continue in the competition for phase 2 will be assigned a PwC Manager who will advise the team to refine their Business Model.

For the second and final deliverable of the competition the selected teams must hand in a document (.PDF) containing a refined version of phase 1 deliverable in addition to the following sections:

4. Strategy and Implementation

  • Summarize sales and marketing strategy, and how they will be implemented with an operating plan

5. Organization and Management Team

  • Outline company's organizational structure, identify the owners and key skills required for the management team

  • Include a brief description of skills, experience and areas of interest of your team

6. Social Impact Analysis

You must discuss, how your innovation impacts society in terms of financial inclusion and reduction of poverty by discussing most of the following areas (at least 3):

  • Community economic development

  • Community involvement

  • Environmental practices

  • Governance

  • Sourcing/Supply Chain

Final Deliverables
  1. Business Model(.PDF) (Mandatory)

  2. Final Presentation (.PPTX) (Mandatory)

  3. Minimum Viable product or demo  (optional)

  4. Promotion Video (.MP4) (optional)

All of these components must be sent in the appropriate formats mentioned or they will not be considered. Any incomplete submission will disqualify the team from the competition. The promotion video, and Minimum viable product are optional but highly recommended.

On the final day of the competition, teams will present their plan to the judges using a PowerPoint document. The teams will have 3 weekly meetings with their PwC Manager and remote support.


Framework for Evaluation

Stage 1

Judges will base their decision on the following factors but are not limited to:

  • Clarity, completeness, and persuasiveness of the written business plan

  • Understanding of the business environment in which the model will operate

  • The usefulness and quality of the business model and its documentation

  • The marketability of the proposed venture

  • Scalability of the model

  • The financial and/or social return of the proposed venture

Stage 2

All of the factors will be taken into account:

  • All of the criteria for Stage 1 and

  • Clarity, completeness, and persuasiveness of oral presentation

  • The quality of the team members’ responses to questions from the judges

  • Contingency planning and risk assessment – including plan for mitigating risk factors

  • Compliance: Business plan in accordance with applicable regulations

The decisions of the judging panel will be final and it would be declared on the same day of the event.




Prizes will be awarded in Mexican Pesos (MXN) considering the exchange rate of 18.50 MXN = 1 USD.


Reading List




For further information or additional queries please contact Alicia Sosa,