Village Capital announced the twelve early-stage fintech startups that were selected to take part in Finance Forward MENA 2020. An accelerator, Finance Forward MENA will provide the startups with five weeks of online and in-person training focused on improving their business models and making their financial health solutions available to those who need them most in the current economic climate.
Each startup selected for the accelerator will work closely with mentors, potential clients and partners, as well as investors they need to scale their impact, using tools developed to help their self-evaluation, such as Village Capital’s Abaca. The top five peer-selected companies will be eligible to share $150,000 USD in grant funding from MetLife Foundation.
“While there has been considerable improvement in global financial inclusion over the last decade, there is still work to do in all regions, especially in MENA,” said Alicia Sornson, Manager of Programs & Partnership in MENA at Village Capital. “I am incredibly excited to work with the twelve startups selected for this program that are developing products to help low-income individuals, families and small businesses manage their day-to-day finances as well as build short-and long-term savings and wealth.”
Finance Forward MENA 2020 is a part of a multi-year global coalition led by founding partners MetLife Foundation and PayPal to support entrepreneurs building tech-enabled solutions to challenges around financial health.
The program received applications from entrepreneurs operating across the region, with selected companies coming from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, the UAE and Turkey. They are helping unbanked people gain access to formal financial services, creating digital identities for refugees and migrant workers, providing access to employment for youth and women, helping small business owners access affordable credit and offering opportunities for underserved people to earn, save and invest for the future.
The cohort was selected with guidance from the Finance Forward MENA Advisory Board, as well as local partner Beyond Capital.
“The financial health challenges created by COVID-19 for individuals and small businesses are significant,” said Dirk Ostijn, Head of EMEA, MetLife. “Times of crisis can spur great innovation, and the Finance Forward entrepreneurs are working with energy and optimism as they seek solutions for these challenges.”