WASHINGTON, D.C., USA – The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) today announced the launch of the fourth annual Inclusive Fintech 50 (IF50) Competition, a global initiative that competitively selects 50 early-stage, inclusive fintechs with innovative business models that aim to advance financial inclusion.
The theme of the 2022 IF50 competition is “Making Digitalization Count.” Rapid advances in the digital economy, further accelerated by COVID-19, are changing the financial services landscape and creating opportunities to drive further inclusion and impact for underserved populations. Early-stage, inclusive fintechs are leading the way by leveraging data and digital infrastructure to deliver valuable products and services to low-income consumers, especially women. “As digitization rapidly increases, underserved individuals and businesses are at risk of being left behind. Visa’s purpose is to help create access and inclusion for all, and we are proud to support Inclusive Fintech 50 and the companies that help ensure everyone, everywhere is brought along the digital transformation journey,” said Beth Hurvitz, Global Head of Social Impact, Visa.
Even with increasing attention to the promise of inclusive fintech, many early-stage fintech companies struggle to secure funding to help them grow. IF50 aims to address this gap by identifying the 50 most promising inclusive fintechs and providing them with visibility to attract investors and other support. Thanks in part to the visibility from IF50, past winners have jointly increased their funding by $620 million in the year following their win. “MetLife Foundation is committed to expanding economic opportunity in underserved and underrepresented communities,” said Tia Hodges, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We are proud to support IF50, which helps to advance inclusion-minded fintechs that are focused on responsible and cost-effective digital solutions.”
IF50 is sponsored by Visa, MetLife Foundation, and Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief, with support from Accion and IFC, and implemented by CFI. In its first three years, IF50 attracted over 1,000 eligible applicants from around the world. Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of judges with expertise spanning financial technology, investment, and innovation. The selection of the 50 winners is based on four criteria: inclusivity, innovation, scale potential, and traction. “The rigorous selection process is a key tenet of IF50,” said Simon Boas of Jersey Overseas Aid. “The applicants go through several stages of vetting to select a truly innovative group of 50 winners with the potential to drive real impact.”
In addition to visibility and credibility, IF50 2022 winners will have access to exclusive networking activities, the opportunity to pitch their innovations, and connections to expert support and training provided by our sponsors and supporters. In addition, winners will be invited to participate in CFI’s Financial Inclusion Week, an annual virtual event taking place October 17-20, where inclusive finance stakeholders gather to learn from one another and share key findings.
Other benefits available to this year’s winners include access to Practical Money Skills and Practical Business Skills, digital platforms created by Visa to empower individuals and micro and small businesses with financial and business knowledge needed to manage and grow. Winners also have the opportunity to be connected to IF50 sponsors to accelerate their business and social impact.
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.