Business Wire

Inclusive Fintech 50 launches 2021 competition to recognize early-stage fintechs driving innovation in an era of uncertainty

Share

The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) has launched the third year of Inclusive Fintech 50 (IF50), a competition to recognize the most promising inclusive fintech startups pushing the frontiers of innovation. This year, the competition seeks to recognize early-stage fintechs that are helping low-income customers and micro- and small enterprises not just respond to the pandemic, but rebound, rebuild, and recover after the past year’s devastation.

IF50 is sponsored by Visa, MetLife Foundation, and Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief, with support from Accion and IFC. In its first two years, IF50 attracted applications from over 700 startups across 162 countries, cumulatively reaching almost 175 million customers. Each year, an independent judging panel of global fintech experts reviews the applicants to select 50 winners based on four criteria: inclusivity, innovation, scale potential, and traction.

Participation in the competition provides startups with visibility and credibility among investors as well as media and partnership exposure; 19 winners from the 2019 cohort have since raised a collective $182.5 million in investment. In addition, this year’s winners will be featured in early November during Financial Inclusion Week, an annual virtual event organized by CFI for the inclusive finance community to discuss the latest developments and key issues facing the sector. Winners will also be featured in this year’s research findings and media coverage. For example, several publications from the past two years prominently featured IF50 winners.

For the 2021 competition, new benefits to IF50 winners include access to Practical Business Skills, a global digital platform created by Visa to deliver free educational resources to help small and micro business owners make confident, informed decisions to grow their businesses. Winners will be able to customize and co-brand this turn-key solution to support the local recovery efforts of the small and micro businesses they serve. Eligible winners will automatically pre-qualify for Visa Fintech Fast Track, a program that aims to speed up the process of integrating with Visa and its ecosystem partners and helps fintechs enhance and introduce new and innovative payment experiences. These tools, together with the networking and platform that IF50 provides, serve as an invaluable platform for startups at the earliest stages of their journey.

As the COVID pandemic continues to rage in many parts of the world, fintech startups and services have proven to be an invaluable lifeline for vulnerable people, facilitating remittances, digital payments, and payments associated with government safety nets. Higher rates of fintech acceptance present new opportunities for startups to go beyond traditional offerings to deliver valuable financial services that will ensure the financial health and resilience of underserved people.

Expert judges include a diverse group of independent fintech experts, investors, and founders, including:

  • Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director, Fintech Saudi
  • Tarek Assad, Managing Partner, Algebra Ventures
  • Sarah Austrin-Willis, Senior Director, Financial Solutions Lab, Financial Health Network
  • Ginger Baker, Head of Financial Access, Plaid
  • Anne-Marie Chidzero, Chief Investment Officer, FSD Africa Investments
  • Bernhard Eikenberg, Managing Partner, Emerging Markets, Community Investment Management
  • Brad Jones, CEO, Wave Money
  • Buhle Goslar, Africa CEO, Jumo
  • Jojo Malolos, CEO, JG Digital Equity Ventures and Data Analytics Ventures
  • Kunal Upadhyay, Advisor, ADB Ventures
  • Shwetank Verma, Co-Founder and General Partner, Leo Capital
  • Gabriela Zapata Alvarez, Independent Consultant (Financial Inclusion)

The application window opens today, and interested startups are encouraged to apply by July 23 via the IF50 website.

Key quotes:

  • Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion, Mayada El-Zoghbi, highlighted the timeliness of the theme noting, “As the world continues to wrestle with the challenges presented by the pandemic, fintechs can play an important role in helping those most impacted move towards recovery. For example, by supporting micro- and small enterprises, which have been devastated by the pandemic but will be ground zero for eventual economic recoveries across the developing world. As difficult as this crisis has been, it has prompted a surge in fintech innovation and an openness to new ideas, the benefits of which could be applied to other challenges beyond the pandemic. We need to be intentional about how we can use this as a springboard for making advances elsewhere, such as with women’s financial inclusion, the responsible use of data, and in navigating the impacts of climate change.”
  • Beth Hurvitz, Global Head of Social Impact, Visa Inc., noted,“Digital payments are an onramp for financial inclusion, helping people and businesses meet their needs and stay afloat in the current context. Fintechs are key to enhancing access and the benefits of digital adoption for the underserved. Visa is committed to work with the payments ecosystem on initiatives such as Inclusive Fintech 50, to support SMB owners to become digitally enabled and rebuild stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses for the recovery of our communities.”
  • Krishna Thacker, Director, MetLife Foundation, noted, “At MetLife Foundation, we recognize the ability of tech to reach low-income people further and faster, but we’re also focused on engaging the customer and changing their financial outcomes. Through Inclusive Fintech 50, we want to identify, recognize and support organizations that are going beyond inclusion to build resilience and financial health for low-income customers – a need highlighted by the pandemic.”

About IF50

Inclusive Fintech 50 identifies promising early-stage fintechs driving financial inclusion around the globe through a competitive process led by an independent panel of judges from venture capital, technology, and financial services. Applicants are assessed on the degree to which their target market includes underserved people or businesses, and whether their innovation offers a new value proposition, shows early-stage traction, and can have a noticeable impact on the more than 3 billion financially underserved people globally. Inclusive Fintech 50 is sponsored by Visa, MetLife Foundation, and Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief, with support from Accion and IFC. The initiative is managed by the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI). Learn more at www.inclusivefintech50.com.

About The Center for Financial Inclusion

The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) works to advance inclusive financial services for the billions of people who currently lack the financial tools needed to improve their lives and prosper. We leverage partnerships to conduct rigorous research and test promising solutions, and then advocate for evidence-based change. CFI was founded by Accion in 2008 to serve as an independent think tank on inclusive finance.

About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information visit About Visa and @VisaNews.

About MetLife Foundation

At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income people around the world. We partner with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. From its founding through the end of 2019, MetLife Foundation provided more than $900 million in grants and $87 million in program-related investments to make a positive impact in the communities where MetLife operates. Our financial health work has reached more than 17.3 million low- and moderate-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit metlife.org.

About Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief

In 2018, Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid announced a four-year £8 million partnership called ‘Branching Out: Financial Inclusion at the Margins’ to improve access to affordable financial services for those at the margins of society in Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Zambia. Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid believe that one of the best ways to do this is by transferring knowledge to build responsible and inclusive financial systems, incubating FinTech, and focusing on service delivery to increase bottom-of-the-pyramid access to financial services including bank accounts, savings, insurance and credit, providing low-income households with the means to plan for the future as well as unexpected events. The partnership grants support a diverse set of organisations, made up of international and local NGOs, with each grantee delivering programmes designed to meet different community and national needs in addressing financial inclusion.

About Accion

Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of — or poorly served by — the financial sector. For 60 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 160 partners in 55 countries. More at http://www.accion.org.

About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

To view this piece of content from cts.businesswire.com, please give your consent at the top of this page.

Contact information

Lauren Braniff, Vice President, Strategy and Communications
Center for Financial Inclusion: lbraniff@accion.org

About Business Wire

Business Wire
Business Wire
24 Martin Lane
EC4R 0DR London

+44 20 7626 1982http://www.businesswire.co.uk

(c) 2018 Business Wire, Inc., All rights reserved.

Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the global leader in multiplatform press release distribution.

Subscribe to releases from Business Wire

Subscribe to all the latest releases from Business Wire by registering your e-mail address below. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Latest releases from Business Wire

Adagio Therapeutics Partners with Biocon Biologics to Bring Potent and Broadly Neutralizing COVID-19 Antibody Treatment to Patients in India and Select Emerging Markets26.7.2021 22:05:00 CEST | Press release

Adagio Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of antibody-based solutions for infectious diseases with pandemic potential, today announced a partnership agreement with Biocon Biologics Ltd., to combat the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in southern Asia. Biocon Biologics Ltd. is a fully integrated biosimilars company and a subsidiary of Biocon Ltd., a global biopharmaceuticals company, (BSE code: 532523, NSE: BIOCON). Under the terms of the agreement, Adagio will provide Biocon with materials and know-how to manufacture and commercialize an antibody treatment based on ADG20 in India and additional select emerging markets. ADG20, Adagio’s lead product candidate, is designed to be a potent, long-acting and broadly neutralizing antibody for both the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 as either a single or combination agent. Unlike other antibody-based therapies specifically targeting SARS-CoV-2, ADG20 has demons

SpeeDx Launch Solution for SARS-CoV-2 Variant Analysis26.7.2021 18:40:00 CEST | Press release

SpeeDx Pty. Ltd., a developer of innovative molecular diagnostic solutions, have launched a new product line of research reagents to support reflex variant analysis for circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC). The rapid development of PlexPrime® SARS-CoV-2 Genotyping* tests will support investigations and monitoring of the range of emerging and circulating SARS-CoV-2 VOC that have been linked to increased transmissibility, reduced vaccine efficacy, or other characteristics that may require specific public health actions.1 This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210726005313/en/ SpeeDx unique technology excels in mutation detection applications and can readily be applied to variants reported in the SARS-CoV-2 sequence databases. Compatible with standard qPCR instrumentation, the PlexPrime® SARS-CoV-2 Genotyping research reagents can reduce the manual process of preparing positive samples for sequence analysis

V-Square Appoints Erik Norland as Head of Distribution26.7.2021 17:00:00 CEST | Press release

V-Square Quantitative Management (V-Square) has announced the hiring of Erik Norland as its Head of Distribution. A 20-year industry veteran with asset management, custody, and global markets expertise, Erik’s addition to the team bolsters our strong client-centric approach to deliver customized ESG solutions as we continue to build our reputation as a specialized global asset manager. He will lead the firm's sales, consultant relationship and client service functions across institutional, insurance and wholesale. Mr. Norland, based in Stockholm, will report to Mamadou-Abou Sarr, co-founder and President and will join the global leadership team. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210726005571/en/ Erik Norland, Head of Distribution (Photo: Business Wire) "Erik is a results-focused leader who brings excellent experience in distribution strategy and execution, sales management and client relationship roles. I had th

Private and Public Sector Join Forces Under the Umbrella of the kENUP Foundation: BioNTech Announces Project to Develop the First mRNA-Based Prophylactic Malaria vaccine, and the set-up of Manufacturing Infrastructures in Africa26.7.2021 16:10:00 CEST | Press release

Today, BioNTech SE (“BioNTech”) announced the start of its Malaria project which aims at the development of a safe and highly effective malaria vaccine and the implementation of sustainable vaccine supply solutions on the African continent. The company’s project is part of a programme by the kENUP Foundation to accelerating the eradication of Malaria. This goal was out of reach so far, despite enormous financial and public health efforts of the global community. The scientific and entrepreneurial progress made during the COVID-19 pandemic raise hopes that a highly efficacious vaccine could soon help to eradicate Malaria. BioNTech aims to develop a safe and highly effective mRNA vaccine with durable protective immunity for prevention of malaria and disease associated mortality. To this end, BioNTech will assess multiple vaccine candidates featuring known Malaria targets such as the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), as well as new antigens discovered in the pre-clinical research phase. The

PPG to Expand Production Capacity for PPG ISENSE Gloss Beverage Can Coatings at Delaware, Ohio, Plant26.7.2021 15:02:00 CEST | Press release

PPG (NYSE:PPG) today announced that it is currently adding capacity for the production of overvarnish coatings for beverage can exteriors, including PPG ISENSE™ Gloss coatings, at its Delaware, Ohio, plant. PPG expects the addition of the Delaware plant’s new volume to existing overvarnish capacity at its Oak Creek, Wisconsin, packaging coatings facility will increase the company’s overall production of overvarnish coatings in the U.S. by 40%. “Beverage can manufacturers around the world are facing unprecedented demand for their products,” said Todd White, PPG general manager, U.S. and Canada, and global strategic accounts, packaging coatings. “With this added capacity, we are committed to helping them meet that demand while adding more security to their supply chain for beverage can coatings.” In addition to increasing supply chain security for its customers and the packaging industry, the Delaware plant will provide in-line analytical capabilities for enhanced batch consistency. “PPG

NET ZERO Leaders Summit (Japan Business Conference 2021) - Online Event From Wednesday, July 28 : Latest Information26.7.2021 15:00:00 CEST | Press release

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) are pleased to announce the jointly organized “NET ZERO Leaders Summit (Japan Business Conference 2021)” to accelerate innovation in green investment and the realization of carbon neutrality. The event will take place from Wednesday, July 28, and will be held online. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210726005389/en/ Entrance_Lobby_Image (Graphic: Business Wire) Main Program In the main program, panel discussions will be held between 15 leaders of global companies and organizations. In addition, Mr. SASAKI Nobuhiko, Chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), will present the opening remarks, Mr. TOKURA Masakazu, Chairman of KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation), will present the keynote speech and Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry KAJIYAMA Hirosh

ADM Accelerates Growth of Leading Global Alternative Protein Platform with Planned Acquisition of Sojaprotein26.7.2021 14:05:00 CEST | Press release

Global nutrition leader ADM (NYSE: ADM) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Sojaprotein, a leading European provider of non-GMO soy ingredients. Established in 1977, Serbia-based Sojaprotein has sales into 65 countries, offering a wide array of non-GMO vegetable protein ingredients for an extensive list of European and global customers in the meat alternative, confectionary, protein bar, pharmaceutical, pet food, and animal feed segments. The company had more than $100 million in sales in 2020. “Thirty years ago, ADM invented the soy vegetable burger, giving rise to the plant-based protein segment. Today, alternative proteins represents one of our core growth platforms, and as this $10 billion global industry grows to $30 billion over the next decade, we are investing to expand our unparalleled capabilities,” said Leticia Gonçalves, ADM’s president of Global Foods. “The addition of Sojaprotein – the largest producer of plant-based protein in southern Europe – ad