Bogotá, Colombia, April TBD, 2021 – CÍVICO, a Colombian start-up that enables digital and financial inclusion for underserved micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by connecting them with consumers, announced today the launch of its merchant assessment tool. The new tool will help CÍVICO better understand underserved businesses’ needs and improve its end-to-end digital loan platform, and help communities thrive by issuing customized credit products.
Since 2012, CÍVICO has worked with over 70,000 small merchants and corner stores and connected them with customers that are looking to buy products locally. CÍVICO has also developed an end-to-end digital loan product that could be customized for their diverse clientele.
In 2020, CÍVICO partnered with Bogota’s Mayors Office to launch Despega Bogotá, the city’s most ambitious program to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for small merchants. As a result of this joint effort, 30,000 MSMEs now have a digital presence and can sell their products online or accept digital payments in store. To date, CÍVICO’s merchants have offered more than 40,000 products on the platform, generating more than 10,000 transactions totaling more than US $250,000. The company has also disbursed more than 800 loans totaling US $120,000, with close to 10% of clients selected for renewals in the first 5 months of operations.
Now, to better understand their customers’ needs and help them grow their businesses, CÍVICO has developed a merchant assessment tool that consensually collects merchants’ data and pinpoints its clients’ pain points and needs. The tool is embedded in the CÍVICO Negocios App, a self-management mobile application where merchants can create a digital presence for their businesses, upload and sell their products and connect with their clients.
The merchant assessment tool consists of an easy-to-use test, where merchants share data that allows CÍVICO to assess their needs and offer the most suitable credit product. At the same time, CÍVICO cross-references these profiles with its existing data to create consumer-oriented financial products that address their biggest pain points in recovering from the pandemic, and improve their behaviors and the state of their financial health. By embedding the tool in its mobile application, CÍVICO can gather information to identify how to better use alternative data for credit scoring, improve its direct lending product, and find suitable partners with whom to scale their offering and provide a multi-partner flexible lending product to its clients.
After four months of running a pilot, CÍVICO is now launching its merchant assessment tool in time to assess the needs of the hundreds of thousands of businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
As Ricardo Pombo, CÍVICO’S CEO stated, “The constant development of digital tools allows us to address our clients’ needs and is instrumental to fulfilling our purpose of generating digital and financial inclusion, and by doing such, we support our clients’ economic reactivation.”
The merchant assessment tool was developed with the support of Accion’s Global Advisory Solutions team, through a global partnership between Accion and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth that aims to power micro and small businesses to successfully operate in, and benefit from, the digital economy. Accion’s support included client capability building for 12,000 merchants, through the organization’s financial education platform Ovante. Accion has also provided strategy definition, product development, scorecard modeling, piloting, launching and monitoring.
“CÍVICO’s unique business and platform presented a tremendous opportunity to layer on inclusive, digital-first financial services for underserved Colombian and Mexican microbusinesses and the consumers who rely on them. The company’s extensive knowledge of the small merchant ecosystem – and commitment to helping those businesses leverage the digital economy – made them an ideal partner in our work with Mastercard. The launch of this platform is a milestone in our shared efforts to advance financial inclusion,” said Victoria White, Managing Director of Accion Global Advisory Solutions.
“As we look to rebuild a more inclusive and sustainable economy, we must focus on supporting the digital needs of micro and small businesses,” said Luz Gomez, director of Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth for Latin America and the Caribbean. “CIVICO’s expanded technology platform will serve as another valuable resource that can help scale financial services to merchants in Latin America. Now, more than ever, we need greater collaboration between the private sector and civic organizations to ensure the benefits of a growing digital economy reach everyone, everywhere.”
CÍVICO transforms cities by creating digital and financial inclusion ecosystems for the bottom of the pyramid, connecting small merchants with local consumers, having an impact in their quality of life. It currently operates in Bogotá, Mexico City and Santiago de Chile.
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 nearly 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 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, @CNTR4growth, LinkedIn and subscribe to its newsletter.