Accion built strong partnerships to continue expanding our impact around the world. For instance, in 2018, Mastercard and Accion announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to transform millions of underserved micro and small businesses around the world. Through insights, innovations, and investments, we will power microbusinesses to successfully operate in and benefit from the digital economy. We aim to reach up to 10 million clients, including four million merchants, leading to greater financial inclusion, economic growth, and job creation.
Accion’s new partnership with MetLife Foundation began advancing financial inclusion for underserved individuals around the world. The project — Building Financial Capabilities and Strengthening Institutions through Customer-Centered Innovations — aims to enhance financial customer engagement by building their financial capabilities. Accion’s advisory team and CFI began supporting a select group of financial service providers in Chile, Mexico, Myanmar, Poland, and Serbia by designing digital tools and services informed by human-centered design; incorporating behavioral principles that spur usage and empower clients; and enabling financial service providers to effectively leverage and utilize data.
These partnerships allowed us to share global insights and best practices with the broader industry. For example, with the support of the Citi Foundation, Accion’s advisory team detailed how innovations in digital lending can enable financial service providers to offer better products to more underserved clients.
With support from the Mastercard Foundation, Venture Lab examined how eight of its portfolio partners calibrate their use of technology and human touch to improve customer acquisition, customer engagement, collections, and more in The Tech Touch Balance.
To share Accion’s insights directly with entrepreneurs, Venture Lab and the Mastercard Foundation began recruiting experienced business executives with entrepreneurial aspirations to create a successful inclusive fintech startup from scratch in Nigeria through the Company Builder initiative in 2018.
In 2018, Accion Venture Lab made its first investments in insurtech companies: new organizations that use emerging technologies to help protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
- Lumkani uses an internet-connected heat detector to give South Africans living in informal settlements insurance that protects against the loss of life, shelter, and assets in the case of a fire.
- Pula uses satellite data to assess how a client’s farm is performing and provides them with agricultural advice via text messages that helps protect against crop loss.
- Toffee Insurance works with retailers in India to offer ‘bite-size’ insurance policies that cover what clients need most.
Because no single product or service is enough to create a financially inclusive world, Accion continued working holistically to ensure that the entire industry valued its clients, understood their needs, and helped them live financially healthy lives.
The Center for Financial Inclusion
The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) continued to engage and challenge the industry to better serve, protect, and empower clients. In 2018, CFI published new research assessing global progress toward financial inclusion and best practices to develop client protection, good governance, financial health, and responsible investment practices for financial institutions.