WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2023 — Building on four years of work together to enable digital transformation among small businesses, Accion and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth today announced a renewal of their partnership and a sustained commitment to improve the financial health of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in emerging economies.
Over the next four years, supported by a new $15.8 million grant from the Mastercard Impact Fund, the partnership will aim to help 5 million MSEs, including 1 million women-owned businesses, actively use digital financial services to improve their financial health. Services provided under the partnership are expected to reach a total of 10.5 million people over the next four years.
From 2019 to 2022, Accion and Mastercard successfully helped more than 5.6 million MSEs and 12.8 million people benefit from digital financial services. Research conducted during the partnership showed that when financial service providers create products customized to the needs of underserved MSEs, small business owners are likely to be better prepared to survive economic downturns, improve their financial health, and continue providing jobs, goods, and services to their communities.
The continued partnership between Accion and Mastercard builds on the two organizations’ existing digital transformation work and recognizes how thriving small businesses — especially those that are women-owned — support employment and livelihoods in emerging economies.
In the next phase of the collaboration, the partnership will work with financial service providers and fintechs — including e-commerce and gig-economy platforms — to offer new products to MSEs, deepening their participation in the digital economy and advancing their financial health. The work will help integrate these businesses into a more inclusive MSE ecosystem by supporting early-stage fintechs to accelerate adoption of digital tools by MSEs, enabling platforms to provide embedded financial products tailored to MSEs, and strengthening the capacity of MSE-focused financial service providers to innovate through private sector partnerships. Research will be conducted throughout the partnership to continue to understand the key drivers of resilience and business growth of MSEs, as well as the impact of digital adoption.
“We’re excited to announce this next step in our partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to connect more micro and small businesses to the digital economy and explore new ways to improve financial health”, said Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion. “Small businesses are a vital part of emerging economies around the world, providing essential jobs, goods, and services to their communities. Together, we’ve already helped more than 12.8 million people benefit from digital transformation. I’m thrilled to continue our partnership as we work to create a fair and inclusive economy where underserved people have quality financial choices and opportunities to improve their economic wellbeing.”
“The latest World Bank data shows that a sustained focus on financial inclusion has helped 76 percent of adults achieve access to the digital economy — but that isn’t enough,” said Shamina Singh, founder and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “We have an opportunity to ensure that access becomes impact and that products serve people by being inclusive by design. Our partnership with Accion created digital lifelines during the pandemic, proving out the model in the toughest of circumstances. The next phase will unlock the potential of e-commerce platforms to accelerate growth and support fintechs at a critical juncture in our collective journey to shared prosperity.”
Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a trailblazing legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the 1.8 billion people who are left out of — or poorly served by — the financial sector. For more than 60 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 200 partners in 63 countries. More at accion.org.
About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the center on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to its newsletter.