How one platform connects cities and boosts small businesses

Leveraging a strong technology platform to connect small businesses and users to their communities as well as provide them financial services

Latin America has come a long way since Accion began its work there in the 1960s. In the past 50 years, the microfinance industry has become well-established and financial inclusion has expanded. But there’s still more to be done, and we’ve been looking for innovative digital channels and platforms to continue bringing useful financial tools to the underserved. CÍVICO, based in Bogota with operations in Mexico City and Santiago de Chile, is a digital platform enabling access to an extensive set of services to help solve the daily needs of its users and provide citywide news and information. CÍVICO maps cities by crowdsourcing location data and connects consumers to local small businesses through its platform. Through partnerships with payment companies, banks, and brands, CÍVICO is building a digital ecosystem for both merchants and users.

CÍVICO’s inclusive platform connects small businesses and individuals to their cities and to each other. CÍVICO creates “missions” for users to find specific services within their cities and upload information on the business offering these services, including shop name, type of business, contact information, and business hours. This information enables people to find everything they need right in their neighborhoods — including minimarkets, barber shops, pharmacies, green spaces, music shows, and more. To date, they’ve mapped more than 600,000 merchants and engaged over 4 million active users.

Produce standMerchants registered on CÍVICO’s platform see more foot traffic to their stores from CIVICO´s active users, especially from local offers that users can claim and use on the platform. CÍVICO partnerships are designed to add value to small business. One example of the services they offer is CÍVICO Pay, an online and offline payment platform that uses very low-cost mobile point of sale (mPOS) devices. This helps reduce the need to transact exclusively with cash and therefore expands the potential customer base. Other offerings include CÍVICO Store, which displays all active merchants on the platform, and CÍVICO Academy, which supports merchants in using CÍVICO’s platform and provides them educational tutorials on digital marketing to help develop their business strategies.

In addition to investing funds in CÍVICO, we’re also providing advisory services to enable the company to reach more clients throughout Colombia, Mexico, and Chile. The advisory services will use our global expertise to support CÍVICO’s financial services strategy, strengthen their value proposition, and develop financial products. With this support from Accion, CÍVICO plans to leverage its wealth of data to offer financial services through its platform that fit merchants’ specific needs, while obtaining insights from users’ data to better understand city-wide needs.

Across the globe, we are seeing more and more that digital transactions are key for turning data into actionable insights. CÍVICO’s deep understanding of its merchants and user base, combined with its unique digital platform, represents the opportunity for CÍVICO to become a demonstration model for digital financial service providers, both in Latin America and elsewhere. We are excited to partner with CÍVICO to bring financial services to underserved businesses and help communities thrive.

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