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Fintech startups will be able to test their value propositions with prospective clients looking for microfinance, with the launch of an innovation platform by US-based microfinance organisation Finca International.
Finca International announced the launch of the platform, Finca Forward — which is a two-year pilot funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — last Thursday (4 October). The platform will facilitate the collaboration between early-stage fintech enterprises and microfinance institutions supporting the world’s poor.
In a statement last week, Finca International CEO and president Rupert Scofield said the non-profit organisation has long been dedicated to serving both unbanked and underbanked populations.
Finca Forward will bring early-stage fintechs and microfinance institutions together to accelerate financial inclusion and market-based development
“Finca Forward represents the next step in this service, drawing on our experience as the founder of a global microfinance network while embracing digital innovations,” said Scofield.
Scofield added that by catalysing support and investment for early-stage fintech enterprises the platform aims to help small and growing businesses overcome “the pioneer gap”. He added that the platform will also enable microfinance institutions to bring much-needed financial services to at-risk populations of women, youth and the rural poor.
Through the Finca Forward platform, microfinance institutions can systematically evaluate new technologies — while fintech startups can test their value propositions with prospective clients, by way of a microfinance institution’s established customer base.
The innovation platform will incorporate a gender lens focus on products and channels designed specifically for female microfinance as well as on women-owned and women-led fintech enterprises.