Over 1.7 billion individuals around the world are unbanked, with more than 3 billion people either poorly served or left out entirely by the financial sector. At Accion, we believe technology has the power to change that. Nearly 70 percent of unbanked adults own a mobile phone, giving rise to a new generation of digital financial services and an immense opportunity to drive financial inclusion forward.
Financial service providers (FSPs), marketplace platforms, fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs), and other actors in the ecosystem that serve micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), face numerous strategic and operational challenges today. While digital technology continues to disrupt the financial sector and the world more broadly, as most interactions between MSMEs and their ecosystem partners are still manual, paper-based, and inefficient. With deep technical expertise and innovative approaches, Accion Global Advisory Solutions helps these players overcome the issues they face in driving change and accelerating the creation of enabling digital ecosystems.
With decades of on-the-ground experience combined with insights into new technologies, our global team delivers strategic and technical advisory support through integrated products and offerings, all toward a north star — creating economic opportunities and a financially inclusive world for MSMEs and low-income households. By addressing the most pressing issues facing financial inclusion, we help mission-driven organizations achieve scale, impact, and returns.
Strengthened by our key partnerships with Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, MetLife Foundation, and FedEx, to name a few, our work enables families and microbusinesses around the globe to reach their economic potential by expanding access to appropriate financial service options. This approach includes digital tools to manage their financial goals better and digitize business transactions. We firmly believe in giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives and build resilience at a time when many are facing larger challenges than ever before.
So how do we make a difference?
Accion’s advisory team works closely with FSPs, marketplace platforms, FMCGs, and other ecosystem partners that are uniquely positioned to provide appropriate financial products to low-income individuals and underserved microbusinesses at scale, helping them improve their financial health and resilience.
Our advisory team applies customer-centric, data-driven, and tech-enabled solutions that help these institutions expand their engagement with MSMEs around the world and maximize their impact. We offer an evolving set of core products that integrate our broad expertise, including:
- Digital lending: We leverage our capabilities in payments, digital transformation, human-centered design, customer engagement, and data and analytics to deliver digital lending solutions to more underserved clients in faster, more cost-efficient, and engaging ways.
- Digital payments: When small business owners can send and receive digital payments, they can run their businesses more efficiently. We connect MSMEs and FSPs to digital payments, decreasing both parties’ operational costs and offering greater convenience and flexibility for underserved customers. We facilitate win-win partnerships to integrate ecosystems, provide strategy and implementation support, and use customer insights to inform digital payment product design.
- Digital transformation: For merchants to easily access financial and other value-add services digitally, Accion recognizes that the entire ecosystem requires digital capabilities, third-party integrations, and customer-facing apps. Accion takes a holistic view of digital transformation. We design and implement digital strategies that help institutions realize their long-term ambitions while also connecting microentrepreneurs to the digital economy so that they can become more resilient. We have developed diagnostics to evaluate the digital skills of small merchants, and tools that help both FSPs and MSMEs build their digital capabilities.
- Supply chain finance: We offer a comprehensive supply chain finance solution that optimizes working capital, reduces risk, and increases revenues. This solution enables FSPs and other supply chain actors to extend more services to existing and new merchants and achieve greater scale through close collaboration.
- Risk strategy and scorecards: Accion has developed in-house expertise in collecting, structuring, and analyzing data to realize the benefits of digitization. To help FSPs manage risk and leverage data efficiently, we work to reduce credit risk through risk management frameworks, credit decision tools, propensity modeling, and underwriting techniques.
- Accion Design: Accion works with financial sector partners to create customer-centric products and services using human-centered design, behavioral science, and data science. This approach helps us build easy and intuitive products for customers to use when accessing services digitally and fuels innovation and transformation across organizations.
- Ovante: Created by Accion, Ovante is a digital learning platform that strengthens microentrepreneurs’ managerial, financial, business, and digital capabilities by incentivizing financially healthy behavior changes. This edtech tool enables MSMEs to build the skills they need to thrive in a competitive and digital world.
Accion Global Advisory Solutions helps established institutions serving MSMEs address their strategic and operational challenges head-on through our international expertise in strategy and business model development, ecosystem partnering strategy and implementation, platform and process architecture, and data-driven product design.
Over our 60-year history, Accion has made a tangible impact. We have:
- Partnered with and served over 170 institutions in 55 countries around the world.
- Empowered more than 10 million people to access credit through our partners, 70 percent of them being women.
- Helped nearly 9 million people save money through our partner institutions.
- Enabled over 715,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises to digitize their business operations.
- Enrolled nearly 500,000 people in our financial education courses to date.
Accion Global Advisory Solutions has helped organizations like Destácame, a Chile-based personal financial management platform, redesign their website to build their users’ financial health by developing simple diagnostics, customized user journeys, and digestible tips. Since January 2020, the platform has attracted over 1 million visitors. In India, Accion Global Advisory Solutions is helping Annapurna Finance Limited develop a digital strategy that will enable the bank to serve its 1.7 million clients more effectively. As part of this strategy, we worked with Annapurna Finance Limited to launch a new digital emergency loan to assist group lending customers as they recover from the pandemic.
Together with our partners, we’re building a digitally integrated ecosystem that delivers high-quality, affordable financial tools and services to MSMEs around the world so we can create an inclusive world with economic opportunity for all.
Please reach out to see how we can work together towards a more financially inclusive world.
Malavika Krishnan contributed to this article.