African startups have been invited to apply for the Inclusive Fintech 50 competition, a global initiative aimed at recognising and promoting the most impactful businesses in the financial inclusion space.
The Inclusive Fintech 50 is an initiative of the MetLife Foundation and Visa, alongside global non-profit Accion and IFC, and will recognise the top 50 early-stage fintechs contributing to financial inclusion around the globe.
It will culminate in a list of the most impactful, emerging fintechs that demonstrate the power of financial technology to expand access, usage and quality of financial services in advanced and emerging markets.
“The migration to digital financial services improves the lives of individuals, supports stronger businesses and spurs economic progress and prosperity. Fintech companies are driving innovation, especially as it relates to un-served and underserved populations,” said Marianne Mwaniki, global head of social impact at Visa.
“This initiative will help investors identify those high-potential companies and, in turn, help those companies attract the capital and knowledge they need to scale their business for maximum social impact.”
Investors often cite difficulty in identifying prospective fintech investees, especially those contributing to inclusion, while financial service providers struggle to identify appropriate fintech partners.
“Though capital is available to well-known and established fintechs, it’s less so for the early-stage companies focused on financial inclusion,” said Sarah Willis, director of financial health at the MetLife Foundation.
“This effort will create visibility into a pipeline of inclusive fintechs that are reducing costs in delivery, improving the customer experience and ultimately creating an environment where low- to moderate-income people can build resilience, expand their economic opportunities and plan for the future.”
The competition will assess fintechs across the following criteria: inclusiveness, business model innovation, scale potential, and traction. A panel of more than 20 industry experts from venture capital, fintech, banking and other sectors will review applicants and select the winners.
Interested early-stage fintechs should apply by March 8, with winners announced in June.