Ideation : ‘Taking this project from "I want to fix this" to "I will solve it this way"’
On completing the first stage of Fintech For Inclusion, Pre-Incubation, in which participants brainstormed challenges facing their local communities, participants moved on to stage two; Ideation. Teams worked to come up with possible solutions to overcome those challenges by developing social innovation projects. Part of the ideation stage includes the summit which brought together experts in the area of financial technology and participants. The experts, composed of academics and professionals working in FinTech, provided feedback and suggestions to further the participants’ ideas. Over the three days of the summit, participants received training to develop their presentation skills, before delivering high quality pitches in which they presented their projects. The presenters had the opportunity to develop presentation skills in pitching their ideas, while those attending the summit were given an insight into the incredible innovative ideas which were created during ideation.
However, the summit was just one part of the ideation stage which involved months of hard work, creative thinking and innovative ideas. Teams did a lot of work in preparation for the summit. The knowledge and experience shared throughout the process was highly valuable. One participant noted “I also learned a lot about the financial worlds in different countries, about the credit system of Brazil, banking access in Central America, financial tools from Mexico, among other things.” With so much information and positive energy throughout the process, one participant’s head was exploding with ideas!
The summit was the highlight for many participants: ‘it was an amazing time, I really enjoyed meeting all the programme participants and the volunteers in Shaping Horizons.’ Another participant really liked “[t]he one on one networking activity”, while another participant commented on “Pitching and all the rush of having creative activities”. Another participant particularly enjoyed “the ‘meet the leader sessions’*, the one to one networking, and the possibility to hear the pitches from the other teams”, adding “there were a lot of good projects”.
Indeed, there were many excellent projects which showcase the talent and innovation of those involved in the programme, and offer some wonderful ideas for reducing inequality in Latin America through the use of Financial Technology. Here is an overview of the projects from this year’s programme:
BiFin is a personalised app that offers tailored financial planning to encourage people to save for their individual needs. The target users of the app are people in Argentina, where there are low levels of saving and investing, with 8/10 people only accessing their finances on a monthly basis. Their project is a digital platform to incentivise saving for specific individual targets based on their income, expenses and time needed to achieve their goals. The app also shares information and advice for saving. It uses personal data to tailor the advice and it employs gamification to increase engagement.
This project is a digital wallet, paired with financial education and advice for low-income users. As detailed in the presentation, poverty affects 42% of the population in Argentina, so this project is aimed at providing a way for these low-income families to save in the short to medium term. It provides cash-back on regular purchases bought through the app through a commercial alliance business model, which allows users the opportunity to save. Furthermore, the app provides educational content and advice on investing and saving.
EPLAR is an advisory platform seeking to encourage young people to plan and save for the future in order to reduce income inequality later in life. It is aimed particularly at informal workers or people stuck in the gig economy in Mexico. The project intends to partner with Universities and small to medium enterprises (SMEs), to encourage investment and savings for retirement. The goal is to reduce the dependency of retired people on other family members and the state in later stages of life by offering them financial education early in life.
This is an app aimed at increasing accessibility to micro-credits for SMEs in Brazil by building a credit rating through the app. First, Fit.tura explains credit performance and how users’ behaviour affects it. Secondly, it uses alternative measurements like social media engagement, mobile data and bill payments, to measure credit rating, bringing entrepreneurs into the credit system. Finally, it acts as a marketplace where financial institutions can provide credit to users through the app.
This app offers financial education aimed initially at Gen-Z in Buenos Aires, Argentina but the team hopes it can be expanded across Latin America. The app itself is game-based, where users can practise opening bank accounts and learn about different forms of interest and investments. Thus, the knowledge gathered will be applicable in real life scenarios.
This is a game aimed at teenagers, encouraging them to practise everyday financial situations through the app, where everything is a learning experience. This is based on the belief that increased financial education reduces economic vulnerability. It is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the hope of expanding in the future.
A digital bank which aims to reduce barriers faced by migrants in opening a bank account in Panama. Many migrants face problems in receiving their salary or paying for rent without a bank account and this app hopes to remove these barriers. This digital bank is more accessible as there is no minimum deposit needed and no minimum wait time to create an account, and there are no visa or residency requirements.
On completion of the first and second stages, participants will move on to the third and final stage of the programme, acceleration. In this stage, the teams have the amazing opportunity to launch their social innovation projects with the potential to access financial support to implement their designs. The Shaping Horizons mentors will continue to work alongside the teams in order to guide and support them through the process. As well as having support from mentors, the participants will also be able to utilise the innovation tools to measure their social impact.
*The meet the leader sessions brought together participants and social leaders in a special Q&A session to share valuable personal and professional experience. This session followed Chatham House rules in which the information gathered could be shared and used outside of the meeting, but the identity of the speakers and who said what should not be revealed. For this reason, there is no footage from this session online.